There’s an Important Difference Between Internet and WiFi
Many people use Internet and WiFi interchangeably, but that can get confusing when your connection isn’t working. Knowing the difference between your Internet connection and your WiFi network will help you figure out where the problem is.
When we talk about the Internet, we’re actually talking about the Internet Protocol, which is the language computers use to talk to each other. If we didn’t have that protocol, two computers wouldn’t be able to communicate, even if they were connected by a cable. That communication is the basis of all our Internet activity, because everything we do online is actually moving information from one computer to another.
When you visit a website, you’re actually accessing the server that website resides on. A server is a computer whose sole purpose is to hold information and serve it out when requested. Your computer sends the request, and the server pushes the website information back to it, so you see the website you’re looking for. The server is not the Internet, though. The Internet is all the connections and communications in between computers, the “web” or “net” that connects them all.
Your ISP, such as REACH4 Communications provides a physical connection to that net, in the form of a cable or wireless connection, using a modem. The modem translates Internet traffic for your computer so it’s easily understood. You can plug devices into the modem directly, or you can plug in a router to provide wireless connection – WiFi.
WiFi is a radio signal that continually broadcasts out to your devices. As long as your device can pick up that radio signal, and the Internet is on the other side of it, your device can connect to the Internet. However, that radio signal will still be there even if there is no Internet connection on the other end. So your device may show plenty of bars, meaning it has a great connection to your WiFi, but still not find the Internet, because the Internet signal is not being fed to that router.
If your device is connecting to your WiFi, but not the Internet, the problem is more likely to be in your Internet connection. If you’re not getting any WiFi signal, your Internet connection might be fine, but your router may have a problem.