How does Wi-Fi work?

Asked by Jacob

Most people use a router to connect to the internet. This gadget sends and receives information from a phone line or TV cable, and can handle this information, connecting to several computers around the house or office at the same time.

The computers can be plugged into the router using a network cable, but Wi-Fi is more convenient as it uses radio signals. The wireless device in the computer and router then work like two-way radios, sharing large amounts of information.

The router can use different radio channels, but the information packets are addressed to a specific machine. To ensure the communications stay safe, there are different ways to encrypt it, and that’s why you need to set up a password.

José Monteiro, Science Museum