Breaking Down Internet Terminology

what's the difference between Wi-Fi and Broadband?

The Difference Between Wi-Fi & Broadband

Many people know the basics of the Internet, and in general have a solid basis of understanding how it works. However, there can be a gap in understanding certain terminology and the specifics of the technology. For example, although they are related, and often used interchangeably, Wi-Fi and Broadband are two completely different things. Knowing information like this about your internet service can help you troubleshoot any issues and give you the knowledge to make sure you are getting what you need.

What is Broadband?

According to the FCC, broadband, “allows users to access information via the Internet using one of several high-speed transmission technologies.  Transmission is digital, meaning that text, images, and sound are all transmitted as "bits" of data.” In a more basic explanation, broadband refers to bandwidth transmission. It provides high-speed internet to your home, specifically at SkyLine/SkyBest, by a fiber-optic connection. This type of broadband connection provides the fastest speeds available. In comparison, before broadband was available, dial-up Internet service could only reach a speed of about 56 Kbs, whereas fiber, on average, offers symmetrical speeds up to 1G.  SkyLine/SkyBest even offers up to 2G in some areas!

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi transmits radio waves from a router to a wireless device. (A router supplies the communication between all of your devices and the internet; in other words, it provides the “route” for the internet to get to your device via a wireless signal.) A connection to Wi-Fi allows you to connect multiple, wireless devices to your broadband, and essentially “use” your internet without a direct, wired connection.  Just because Wi-Fi is not available does not mean that Internet is not.  The device would just have to be connected to the Internet directly via a wire. 

Wi-Fi vs. Broadband

To break it down, broadband is what provides Internet to you, and Wi-Fi is a way to connect you to it. Oftentimes, when people think they are experiencing “slow Internet” they are actually just experiencing Wi-Fi issues.  Things like furniture, walls, decor and equipment block our Wi-Fi signal, leading to slower load times.  To learn more about your Wi-Fi and get tips on ways to boost your connection, read our blog here. Additionally, there may be devices that are unknowingly connected to your Wi-Fi that may be using up your bandwidth, causing you to think that there is a problem with your Wi-Fi, when in actuality, you just need a higher Internet speed. To learn more, read our blog “Unexpected Things Using Your Bandwidth” here, or read our blog Understanding Internet Speeds for more information on other common Internet questions.

We understand that the “tech world” and all the terminology that comes with it can be confusing. As always, if you have any questions about your service, please give us a call at 1-800-759-2226 or visit our website at We want to help you in any way we can!