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Difference Between Broadband and Wi-Fi

There is tons of information available relating to the internet and internet connectivity, but there are also a lot of gaps in the vast information. Everyone is familiar with the terms URL, IP address, 4G, Wi-Fi, webpage, and broadband, but not everyone is aware of what these terms signify. 

It is necessary to understand the meaning of these terms before you decide which type of internet connection you want, in order to make an informed decision. The connection you acquire should be at par with your requirement.

Kannan Vasudevan
August 29, 2022 5 Minutes Reading Article
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The two terms that you should definitely be aware of are broadband and Wi-Fi. These two terms are mistaken to be the same as they seem very synonymous but are quite different. The misunderstanding is because we relate connecting to a Wi-Fi network with establishing access to broadband internet. And the confusion is even more since all of us are accustomed to connecting our wireless devices like mobile phones and laptops to a Wi-Fi network to access the internet connection. You should also know the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi before you approach an ISP for an internet connection.

In simple terms, broadband uses high-speed internet to transfer data, and Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies and signals to transmit data that is wireless.

In order to understand the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi, let us first get to know what broadband and Wi-Fi are and how they work.

Understanding broadband and how it works

Broadband represents the transmission of data at a high bandwidth. The data is exchanged between two devices over the internet, and the pathway through which the data flows is broadband. ASL, DSL, Cable, and Fibre are the different types of broadband connections. Each of these connections adopts different technology with an aim to provide consumers with high-speed internet. Of them, fiber optic cables have the most refined technology for giving consumers a high bandwidth with symmetrical speeds.

Unlike conventional dial-up connections, which use a single line to transfer huge amounts of data, broadband uses many lines to provide the internet. The word broadband means the use of many bands to transmit data.

In layman’s terms, dial-up is a one-way street, but broadband is like a multilane motorway where numerous vehicles can ply simultaneously. The speed of the internet via broadband is increased by the parallel transmission of several data packets at once. 

Understanding Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi technology uses radio frequencies and signals to wirelessly transfer and receive data between two devices. Wi-Fi is a wireless method of accessing the broadband connection. All Wi-Fi networks operate on two frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. For longer distances with lower bandwidth, the 2.4GHz frequency is used, and for shorter distances with higher bandwidth, the 5GHz frequency is used.

Through a wireless modem or router, a Wi-Fi network can be set up to provide internet access to multiple devices at a given access point.

What is the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi?

After chalking out the way both broadband and Wi-Fi work, let us understand the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi. 

  • The primary difference between broadband and Wi-Fi is that Wi-Fi uses wireless technology to provide access to the internet. It locates radio signals and establishes a connection with nearby devices. Broadband internet is a wired or wireless computer network. Broadband is available on a global scale and provides access to the users so that they can connect their devices to the internet to share information. Broadband uses industry-standard communication protocols to provide internet access to consumers.

  • Broadband provides internet services to numerous devices connected to a single network. Wi-Fi assists in connecting various devices wirelessly for the provision of network services — yet another difference between broadband and Wi-Fi. 

  • The next important difference between broadband and Wi-Fi is inter dependability. Broadband can give internet access to consumers even without Wi-Fi. Without Wi-Fi, the broadband internet connection will become a wired connection. Wi-Fi eliminates the clustering of wires. 

But the other way around is not possible. Wi-Fi cannot provide internet access without a broadband connection. 

  • The notable difference between broadband and Wi-Fi is the coverage area. The coverage area defined for Wi-Fi is a few yards, and the signal weakens as the coverage area increases. So, you will experience a slowdown as you move away from the Wi-Fi router. Whereas there is no specific distance range defined for broadband. A person located in one corner of the world can access the internet to share information with another person located anywhere across the globe.

  • There is also a difference in the number of users accessing the service. The number of users accessing will impact the Wi-Fi service. This is because Wi-Fi is a medium of service to provide users with internet access. There is a fixed load that Wi-Fi can shoulder to maintain the signal strength. As the number of users increases, the internet speed will also decrease as the Wi-Fi signals become weak. 

In contrast, broadband allows an unlimited number of users to connect to the network at once. Everyone can access and use the service through broadband internet regardless of the number of users.

Pros and Cons of Broadband

Pros

  • There is no need to switch off and on the connection periodically, and the connection is on all the time. It will provide you with a high-speed connection, and you can upload and download large files at the same speed.

  • The connection is secure.

  • Since it is a cabled connection, you will not experience an intermittent slowdown. The high speed will be consistent.

  • It is economical.

Cons

  • The broadband connection is secure in the sense that other users cannot establish access to the connection without your login credentials. Several devices can be connected to the network simultaneously.

  • Connection to your system will be through a broadband cable. 

Pros and Cons of Wi-Fi

Pros

  • It provides high-speed internet, and you can get connected instantly.

  • Multiple devices can be connected to the same Wi-Fi device

  • The pricing is reasonable. It mainly depends on the ISP, and you should look for one that provides a plan that suits your requirement at a reasonable price.

Cons

  • One of the disadvantages is that the Wi-Fi signal cannot be considered really secure, and you should beware of packet sniffers. Packet sniffers, also known as packet analyzers, do not hurt the network but could cause individual harm by allowing hackers to access your confidential information like PINs, passwords, etc., and more specifically, the data that is in plain text. 

  • Wi-Fi uses radio signals to transmit data and so some level of interference in the connectivity can be expected.

Conclusion

With detailed knowledge about the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi, you will be able to appreciate the useability of each one of them. Wi-Fi scores better when a connection opts for a home since many devices can be connected to a single access point. For large distances, broadband is a better option for high-speed connection that has the least or no interference.

FAQs

Are broadband and Wi-Fi the same?

Broadband is a high-speed internet connection that is always on. The broadband operates with or without Wi-Fi. With Wi-Fi, it will be a wireless connection and will be wired when connected with a broadband cable. Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that enables various devices to connect to the internet. You cannot gain access to the internet with Wi-Fi in the absence of a broadband connection.

How do LAN and Wi-Fi differ?

Using a LAN cable you can establish a connection to your broadband by connecting your router and device to the LAN cable. With Wi-Fi, however, you will be able to access data without a direct physical connection between two devices.

What is broadband internet?

A wired or wireless connection will enable you to access the internet with broadband. Broadband is a high-speed internet connection. You will be able to access all information on the internet if you have a broadband connection.

What are the advantages of broadband?

The advantages of broadband are manifold.

  • The primary advantage is the speed. Its internet speed is 100 times more than a dial-up connection.

  • You experience frequent outages in a dial-up connection which is typically less in a broadband connection.

  • The connection is available round-the-clock. 

  • The speed offered by broadband is very consistent and you will rarely experience disruptions in connectivity.

  • The broadband connection does not cause interruptions to phone lines. Both internet and phone services can be utilized simultaneously.

What are the disadvantages of broadband?

Though the advantages of broadband are many, there are some disadvantages as well.

  • It is priced higher than a dial-up connection. The monthly rent has to be paid whether you use the connection or not.

  • Though broadband claims to provide high speed, it cannot always be assured. It depends on the servers of the Internet Service Provider.

  • The access is provided 24x7 which poses security threats.

  • The accessibility is very poor in remote and rural areas. 

  • If the broadband connection is wireless, then low signal strength can pose issues to the connectivity. The signal gets weak because it has to pass through numerous hurdles. 

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