Cut The Cord With Wireless Internet

Wireless internet comes in many forms beyond just wi-fi, here’s our guide on the many ways to connect to the internet wirelessly.
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Published: Thursday, July 7th 2016
General
There are multiple ways to connect to the internet, but the most convenient way is one that involves no wires or cables - introducing wireless internet. As technology has grown and adapted, devices have gotten smaller, more powerful and mobile. Now that one of our most powerful computers is the phone we carry with us, having a fixed line connection is a bit silly. In fact, more devices no longer have an ethernet port, meaning that the only way to connect to the internet is with a wireless connection.

What exactly is wireless internet?

Commonly known as Wi-Fi, it’s a means of getting a broadband internet connection without any wires or cables. Wi-Fi allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet at any one time which means that if you have a computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone, you’ll be able to connect to the internet on all of those devices at the same time.

Connecting to the internet wirelessly can be done a few different ways :

  • Using a Wi-Fi connection (whether it be at home or the office)
  • On your smartphone or tablet using a cellular data connection (you can buy data bundles from your network as a pre-paid customer or as part of a monthly contract)
  • A Wi-Fi hotspot

Wi-Fi at home

In order to connect to the internet wirelessly at home, you’re going to need a Wi-Fi router. When signing up for a broadband package with an ISP (internet service provider), you’re usually provided with the option to purchase a Wi-Fi router as well. Once your ISP has sent a technician through to set-up your new broadband internet connection, you’ll be able to connect to the internet. In order to connect, you’ll need to enter a password when connecting to your Wi-Fi network. The password can usually be found on your wireless router or will be provided by your ISP. While Wi-Fi is a great way to connect to the internet, the further away you are from your router, the weaker the connection, which makes placing your router in the right location a must. Keep it central - find the most central spot in your house in order to ensure that the signal reaches as much of your home as possible. Avoid impenetrable obstructions - Wi-Fi signals are not able to penetrate all surfaces. Thick walls, metal surfaces, and mirrors all either reflect the signal or reduce its potency. Play with the antenna - just as you would’ve done with your old TV back in the day (before DSTV and flat screen TVs), try moving the aerial on your router. Most routers have an aerial that can move from side to side or in a circle. If none of those tricks work, then you should consider getting a Wi-Fi extender. Also known as a Wi-Fi repeater, this is device extends the coverage of your Wi-Fi signal. There are a range of Wi-Fi extenders which can either be purchased online or at your local computer hardware store.

Cellular data

If you have a smartphone or tablet with a SIM card, odds are you’re already accessing the internet wirelessly. The required settings needed in order to surf the internet from your tablet or smartphone are usually sent to you by your network provider (Vodacom, Telkom Mobile, MTN or Cell C). Should your network not send you the settings, you will be able to go to any of their stores to get your device set up. Before attempting to connect to the internet, ensure that “mobile data” is enabled on your device. Remember that surfing the internet from your phone or SIM-card enabled tablet uses any data or airtime loaded on your SIM.

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Wi-Fi hotspots are available in more and more locations throughout South Africa (including malls, public spaces, coffee shops and more). In order to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, ensure that you have “Wi-Fi” turned on on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Once turned on, your device will search for Wi-Fi hotspots in your immediate vicinity. If a lock appears next to the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot that you’d like to connect to, you’ll need a password in order to connect, this is usually available from the owner or manager of the coffee shop or restaurant that you’re at. Not all Wi-Fi hotspots require a password, but some do require you to register before you’re able to connect to the internet. Do remember that Wi-Fi hotspots are used by multiple people at the same time and this can cause your connection to be slow.