Most condominiums and homes across Canada have internet access. At one time not so long ago that meant their computers were able to communicate with other computers via the telephone line, but only in the most rural communities does dial-up still exist. Today people are after fast, convenient internet access that's available wherever they go. The answer to this was wifi, or wireless local area networking. To learn how wireless is different from regular internet, read on.

When you have a wireless internet connection, no wires are needed to connect your computer to the modem. It can communicate with the device using signals beamed invisibly through the air. Wireless networks extend several dozen metres from the point of origin (the wireless router), which means that people can still use the internet even if they have their computers out on their decks. Toronto is almost wall to wall overlapping wireless zones.

You can have a wireless internet connection regardless of whether you buy your internet from the cable company, like Rogers or the phone company like Telus. To set it up, all you have to do is buy a wireless router and install it in your home. It connects via wire to your modem (sometimes the router and the modem will be the same device) and allows information received by it to be broadcasted at high radio frequencies. If you have a wireless card in your computer or you have bought one and installed it, your computer will be able to receive these signals and reply back. Need someone to install a wireless router? Try giving Geek Squad a call.

Because wireless networks usually extend beyond the walls of the home or cottage they originate from, it is possible for non-paying users to access and use your internet if you have an unsecured wireless network. Unsecured networks also leave you open to hackers who can steal your credit card and personal information if they're able to get in range. To prevent your internet from being leeched from, you should password protect your network. Most routers allow you to do so.

From an environmental point of view, wireless internet is less efficient than wired internet because extra power is needed to broadcast the signals, which must be scattered uselessly all over as well as to the computers in the home or condo they're paired with. However, it is generally not feasible to use a wired network with laptop computers, mobile devices, or in public areas, and using wireless does help save some plastic, as fewer cables need to be manufactured.

Wireless service also gives you the freedom to move about with your device, rather than being literally tied to a desk. In the work environment this feature can be very advantageous for productivity and actually encourage more human interaction. Uptown Yonge Dental has reported that they have seen major improvements in communication since their office was upgraded to a wireless router. The dentists and hygienists are able to review patient information and record updates right from their wireless personal ipads, with the result that more detailed data is being recorded about patient visits.

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