It can be confusing how some devices, like your phone, always seem to be connected to the internet and other devices, like a tablet, are only connected at home or where there is public Wi-Fi.
Your computer and usually a tablet (unless you purchased it through your cell phone company), only connects to Wi-Fi. Some desktop computers may not even connect to Wi-Fi and need to be hardwired to the Ethernet cable (which connects to the router).
Your phone connects to WiFi and LTE (Long Term Evolution). While Wi-Fi comes from your cable and internet provider, LTE is a wireless broadband sent through the radio spectrum. To access LTE, you pay your cell phone provider. You most likely pay a monthly bill for different data caps of usage. We break down what Wi-Fi is on this post. Your phone is more mobile than your computer, so it makes sense that you can access the Internet from nearly anywhere.
So how can you tell if you're on Wi-Fi or LTE?
Look on your phone on the top bar. If you see 4G or LTE, you're using LTE, or cell phone data. If you see a dot with three arches above it, you are on Wi-Fi.
Is WiFi more secure?
Surprisingly, LTE is encrypted making it more secure than Wi-Fi. The safest way to use Wi-Fi is if there is a firewall and password protection. If it's not, your neighbor or anyone else can tap into your WiFi. Plus, the more people that are on it, the more that it slows down. We talk about how to speed up your Internet on this post.
How do I know if someone is stealing my WiFi?
Even with a password, it's possible that someone is using your Wi-Fi. If your internet is slow and nothing else seems to be affecting it, you can check if someone has hacked your Wi-Fi. If your computer is slow, there are ways to speed it up.
We first suggest that you connect with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You most likely have a provided modem and router from your ISP, and they can direct you how to check if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi.
If you are a bit tech savvy, you can type in your IP address into your browser address bar. This will bring you to your router's administration page. There you can look for a list of Media Access Control (MAC) addresses that are connected to your Wi-Fi. If you see an address that you don't recognize, change your Wi-Fi password.
If that's intimidating, the team at Small Town Tech can assist you.
What is Wi-Fi short for?
Wi-Fi... it sounds like an acronym or an abbreviation, but it's not. It's simply a name a marketing agency created for the creators of Wi-Fi, which originally was named "IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence." It's a good thing for the name change, or there may not have been as many computer cafés during the boom of the Dot Com Era! Can you imagine seeing "We have Coffee and Free IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence" on a sign? We can't either!
In the 21st Century, most people dropped the hyphen and capitalization and simply write "wifi".
What do you want to know?
Tune in on KSDM 104.1 FM, KGHS 1230 AM, KGHS 95.3 FM on Wednesday at 8:40 am for the next episode of Tech Talk.
Send your tech questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know technology can be confusing. That's why Small Town Tech is committed to making it easier to understand.
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