How Does Wireless Internet Work?

If you’re in the market for wireless Internet access or wireless Internet service, you may have asked yourself the question, “How does wireless Internet work?”. When you eliminate all the technological mumbo jumbo, the answer to that question is fairly simple.

In the following text, we’ll answer the question, “How does wireless Internet work?”. Besides explaining it in simple terms, we’ll also look at the advantages and disadvantages of wireless Internet.

Wireless Internet Service Provider

For starters, a communication tower owned by a wireless Internet service provider sends out a signal to its subscribers. On average, the range for such a tower is around 40 miles, although rapidly-advancing technology is now allowing for even greater distances.

It should be noted, however, that some wireless Internet service providers may have a cap on their service department. If you experience technical problems, and you live outside the radius, you may simply be out of luck. If this is the case, you might be better off going with a satellite Internet connection.

Once the signal is beamed from the tower, it’s collected by a dish-like receiver (often located on top of the client‘s house). Subscribers with wireless Internet access will also be provided with a dedicated wireless Internet receiver. This receiver will receive the captured data via a cable line and then transmit it to your computer over an 802.11b connection.

The receiver will need to have a direct path to the wireless tower. Buildings or trees can eliminate wireless Internet access or greatly reduce it. If you do have a clear path, however, you’ll find download times and online gaming functionality to be surprisingly fast.

While customers will have to share bandwidth with other subscribers, this is rarely a problem. At times of low Internet usage, customers can even find their connection speed working at faster-than-normal rates.

Wireless Internet Advantages


Now that I’ve answered, “How does wireless Internet work?”, let’s take a look at the advantages of wireless Internet service.

  • At speeds of 2 megabytes per second (or faster), wireless Internet offers excellent response time to its customers. This speed is also expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
  • Wireless Internet is readily available in most urban areas, and it’s becoming more common for rural subscribers. New towers are being constructed by wireless Internet service providers all the time.
  • Compared to satellite broadband, wireless Internet is much more affordable.
  • A wide variety of devices are available for wireless users. From wireless headphone and microphones to wireless keyboards and computers, the world is rapidly becoming a very wireless place.

Wireless Internet Disadvantages

Unfortunately, wireless Internet isn’t perfect. In the following section, we’ll take a look at some of the disadvantages associated with a wireless Internet service.

  • Compared to other types of Internet service, the level of power consumption is high. This can lead to devices becoming hot and the increased need for batteries.
  • Wireless connections can be hacked into, although security and firewall software should help eliminate this problem.
  • Wi-Fi networks often have a limited range. Indoors, this may be in the 150 foot range. Outdoors, it may be as high as 300 feet.