For people who were not born into the internet age, it is often difficult to understand the concept of wi-fi and how you can access the internet without connecting your computer to any wires or phone jacks. And yet it is possible. In fact, most properties have their own wi-fi network. If you're thinking you might like to try wi-fi but you have no idea what it is or how to use it, this article can serve as a basic introduction for you.

Wi-Fi, which stands for wireless fidelity, is a system which uses invisible waves of energy to connect two or more devices to one another, much like a radio or cellular phone. Wi-fi operates on different frequencies than other devices such as radio handsets or cell phones so that the wireless network and radio devices don't interfere with one another. Letter designations for wireless devices (i.e. B, G, N) denote the frequency on which it operates.

Universal symbol for Wifi

In order to connect two devices using wi-fi, both must be equipped with transmitters and receivers. Most newer computers are equipped with internal wireless networking cards and are ready to go. However, if you bought an old machine that a company no longer needed, you may need to buy a wireless card from an electronics retailer. To connect to the internet using a wireless card, buy a wireless router with the same letter to connect to your cable or DSL modem. Most internet companies now make combination wireless router/modems that are ready to go.

The two devices then communicate with each other via invisible waves as long as long as they are within range of each other. Most devices have such a large range that within one building of all neighbors can receive each other's wireless signals. For this reason, it is important to password protect your network so that others cannot use your internet without your permission. Many cafes and public places have free public wi-fi for people with laptops and smart phones to use.

Though wi-fi may sound intimidating, if you can use a hammer and nail you can use a wireless device, because modern computers do all the work for you. Simply turn on your laptop, smart phone, iPod, or tablet and it will automatically detect any wireless networks within range and allow you to connect to them. For protected networks, you will need to know the password.

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