Wireless 101 - Internet, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular

The difference between Internet, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular 

 

Internet

computer tablet phone small shadow

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that allows you to interact with computers at other locations and download or upload information/data from/to cloud-based, or other, servers.

The most visible use of the Internet is when we use it to interact with websites using a PC, tablet, or cellphone. Other common uses are checking cameras, bins, and tanks or controlling devices such as lights, fans, and pumps.

To connect to the Internet, you need an Internet connection provided by an Internet service provider (ISP), or via a cellphone/modem with a data package. 


Ethernet

Ethernet and antennas

The Ethernet is a system for connecting directly to computers, or other devices such as printers, cameras, or Wi-Fi access points that are relatively close to each other (in building or yard). It is what carries, or connects, the Internet to devices you want to interact with. It is also what connects your Wi-Fi network to the Internet.

The Ethernet does not need to be connected to the Internet. When Ethernet is used to connect devices locally (Local Area Network or LAN), the devices can communicate with each other using the Ethernet.

The Ethernet can use wires (cables) for up to 100 meters, or be wireless and use Bridges or Hubs located on your property to extend up to several kilometres. 


Wi-Fi

Wi Fi icon shadow

Wi-Fi allows you to wirelessly connect to many devices. A key feature of Wi-Fi is that it is a wireless communication standard used by many devices, which makes the devices easy to connect.

In order for the Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, it must be connected via Ethernet to an Internet service provider, or via a cell phone/modem with a data package. Sometimes the Wi-Fi to Ethernet connection is not obvious because it is inside the modem/router provided by your Internet service provider.

The Wi-Fi range with hand-held devices, such as cell phones and tablets, is generally no more than 50 meters. Wi-Fi devices with an antenna, or externally powered, can have a range up to 200 meters. 

 

Bluetooth bluetooth

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices. It is typically used for situations where lower data rates are required and has a range of less than 10 meters. Bluetooth requires much less power than other wireless technologies, so battery life is longer.

 

Cellular 

Cellphones or cellular modems utilize cellular communication system towers to wirelessly provide a connection to the Internet, if you have a data plan.

They have a range in excess of 30 kilometres, depending on terrain. 

Wireless devices are generally line-of-sight. While you may get signal through walls, or trees, in some situations, most of the time the wireless devices must see each other to communicate. 

 

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