• A home Wi-Fi connection provides wireless connectivity for your home Internet.
  • Wi-Fi is distinct from a mobile broadband Internet connection because it relies on an active connection.
  • To establish a home Wi-Fi network, you'll require a wireless modem/router. Many providers will levy an extra charge for this hardware.

a stylised wi-fi symbol in blue on a high-tech background

A home wireless or Wi-Fi connection provides wireless Internet access throughout your home, eliminating the need for long ethernet cables connected to a modem

This allows you to use your Internet-enabled devices freely anywhere in your house. Unlike mobile broadband, Wi-Fi connects to a modem and then broadcasts a wireless signal to your devices. 

This setup offers the convenience of wireless connectivity combined with the stability of a wired connection, ensuring reliable Internet access throughout your home.

Advantages of a Wi-Fi connection

A Wi-Fi network allows you to access the Internet from anywhere in your home within the range of its Wi-Fi signal. 

This means you can go online without being tied down by wires or Ethernet cables, eliminating the need to run cables throughout your house. 

Unlike mobile broadband, which uses a cellular network, Wi-Fi enables you to use your home Internet connection wirelessly, transmitting the broadband signal from your home network into a wireless signal.

Wi-Fi standards: What are they?

The standards are created and maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  IEEE's 802.11 standard. When you buy a router or a device like a laptop, tablet, phone, or printer, it will state which Wi-Fi standard it supports. 

These standards used to be named by the IEEE, like 802.11ac or 802.11n, but now they're more commonly known by their generation, like Wi-Fi 7.

New Wi-Fi standards make devices faster and better at connecting over longer distances. Upgrading your router to a newer standard can improve your Wi-Fi signal quality and speed across your devices. 

For example, a router that supports 802.11n can deliver 72 Mbit/s, while a Wi-Fi 6 router can deliver 574 Mbit/s, almost 8 times faster.

Each generation of Wi-Fi brings technical improvements to handle more smart devices. If your router is old, upgrading to a newer one can significantly boost your Wi-Fi performance.

A brief history of wireless standards

IEEE Standard Wi-Fi Alliance name Year released Frequency Maximum data rate
802.11a Wi-Fi 1 1999 5GHz 54Mbps
802.11b Wi-Fi 2 1999 2.4GHz 11Mbps
802.11g Wi-Fi 3 2003 2.4GHz 54Mbps
802.11n Wi-Fi 4 2009 2.4Ghz & 5GHz 600Mbps
802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 2014 2.4GHz & 5GHz 1.3Gbps
802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 2019 2.4GHz & 5GHz 10-12Gbps
802.11ax-2021 Wi-Fi 6E 2021 2.4GHz, 5GHz & 6GHz 10-12Gbps
801.11be Wi-Fi 7 2024-2025 2.4 GHz, 5GHz & 6GHz 40Gbps

Wi-Fi standards matter because they determine how fast and reliable your wireless Internet connection is. They also affect how many devices can connect at once and how secure your network is. 

Upgrading to newer Wi-Fi standards can improve your Internet experience and allow for better compatibility with new devices.

However, the enhancements in bandwidth, data capacity, and security are equally significant reasons to consider upgrading to the latest standard whenever possible.

How to set up home Wi-Fi

Setting up a home Wi-Fi network requires a wireless gateway or router, which is often available for an additional fee from your provider. It’s pretty easy to do and here’s how you can do it:

  • Choose a router. Select a Wi-Fi router that fits your needs in terms of speed, range, and features. Consider factors like the size of your home and the number of devices you'll be connecting.
  • Connect it. Place the router in a central location to ensure optimal coverage throughout your home. Connect it to a power source and the modem provided by your Internet service provider (ISP) using an Ethernet cable.
  • Set up the password. Usually, you’ll be prompted to change the Wi-Fi router password during the setup process. Make sure it’s a strong one so that no one can dive into your Wi-Fi.
  • Connect your devices. Enable Wi-Fi on your devices (such as smartphones, tablets, or computers) and search for your Wi-Fi network in the list of available networks. Enter the password you set up earlier to connect.

And with that, you’re good to go. Your Wi-Fi can also power smart items like refrigerators, so don’t forget to connect those, too.

How Wi-Fi differs from mobile broadband

Wi-Fi and mobile broadband are two popular technologies that provide wireless Internet connectivity, but they differ in several ways. Understanding these differences can help users choose the right option for their specific needs. Here are those differences:

Coverage and mobility

Wi-Fi networks are typically confined to a limited area, such as a home, office, or public hotspot, where the router's signal can reach. It relies on an active connection to work. 

On the other hand, mobile broadband allows users to access the Internet from almost anywhere within the coverage area of the mobile network, providing greater mobility and flexibility.


Wi-Fi networks can offer higher speeds and more bandwidth compared to mobile broadband in many cases.

This is because Wi-Fi routers can connect to higher capacity fixed-line broadband connections, while mobile broadband speeds are influenced by factors like network congestion and signal strength.


Wi-Fi is often a more cost-effective option for users who primarily use the Internet at home or in places with Wi-Fi access points, as it does not require a separate data plan. 

Mobile broadband, on the other hand, typically involves a monthly subscription or pay-as-you-go data plan, which can be more expensive depending on usage patterns.


Wi-Fi networks can be secured using encryption protocols like WPA2, providing a level of security for data transmitted over the network. 

While both Wi-Fi and mobile broadband offer wireless Internet access, they differ in terms of infrastructure, coverage, speed, cost, and security. Understanding these differences can help users make informed decisions about which option best suits their needs for Internet connectivity.

Talk to Compare Broadband today

For more information about whether to sign up with an NBN plan or a mobile broadband plan, contact our team at Compare Broadband. We’re here to help get you connected.