Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking 82 82 people found this article helpful Definitions and Examples of Wireless Technology A guide to understanding wireless technology By Melanie Pinola Writer Former Lifewire writer Melanie Pinola has 5+ years' experience writing about consumer-oriented technology and is an expert telecommuter. our editorial process Melanie Pinola Updated August 10, 2019 The Wireless Connection The Wireless Connection Introduction All About Wireless What Does Wireless Really Mean? 802.11 Standards Explained The Range Of A Wireless Network Dual-Band Wireless Networking Explained How Bluetooth Works With Wireless Measure It: Wi-Fi Signal Strength What Is A Wi-Fi Hotspot? The Best Wi-Fi Channels For Your Network Access Your Router As An Administrator 5 Tips for Securing A Wireless Network How Many Devices Can Connect To One Wireless Router? How To Connect At Home How to Name Your Wireless Network How to Change Your Wireless Router's Admin Password Change the Wi-Fi Channel Number to Avoid Interference Build a Wireless Home Network Use Wireless Speakers In Home Theater Connect Your Echo & Alexa To Wi-Fi Connect Google Home to Wi-Fi Wirelessly Connect An iPad To Your TV Use a Free Firewall Program How To Connect On The Go How to Find Free Wi-Fi Locations Get 4G or 3G on Your Laptop Connect To Wi-Fi in Your Car Get Wireless Internet Access in a Hotel Use Your Android As A Wi-Fi Hotspot Set Up Personal Hotspot On Your iPhone Connect Nintendo Switch To Bluetooth Headphones Connect To A Wireless Network With Windows Access Your Computer Remotely How to Troubleshoot Wireless Issues 7 Reasons Wi-Fi Connections Drop Disable Automatic Wireless Connections on Windows How to Hack-proof Your Wireless Router How to Fix OS X Bluetooth Wireless Problems What to Do When Google Home Won't Connect To Wi-Fi How to Hide Your Wireless Network Can't Connect To The Internet? Try This What to Do When There's No Internet Connection The Future of Wireless 5G Changes Everything How 4G And 5G Are Different Why 5G Really Is Faster All About 5G Cell Towers 5G Challenges: Why It Isn't Rolling Out Faster Is 5G The High-Speed Replacement for Cable? When 5G Is Coming to the US The 12 Best 5G Phones Coming in 2019 Yagi Studio / Getty Images Tweet Share Email With smartphones, tablets, and laptops taking over the world, the term wireless has become part of our everyday vernacular. In the most basic and obvious sense, wireless refers to communications sent without wires or cables, but within that broad idea are more specific uses of the term wireless, from cellular networks to local Wi-Fi networks. Wireless is a broad term that encompasses all sorts of technologies and devices that transmit data over the air rather than over wires, including cellular communications, networking between computers with wireless adapters and wireless computer accessories. Wireless communications travel over the air via electromagnetic waves such as radio frequencies, infrared and satellite. The FCC regulates radio frequency bands in this spectrum so it doesn't get too crowded and ensures that wireless devices and services will operate reliably. Wireless can also mean that the device draws power wirelessly but most of the time, wireless just means that there are no cords involved in data transfers. Examples of Wireless Devices When someone says the word "wireless," they could be talking about a number of things (FCC regulated or not) that don't include wires. Cordless phones are wireless devices, as are TV remote controls, radios and GPS systems. Other Examples of wireless devices include cell phones, PDAs, wireless mice, wireless keyboards, wireless routers, wireless network cards, and pretty much anything else that doesn't use wires to transmit information. Wireless chargers are another type of wireless device. Though no data is sent through a wireless charger, it does interact with another device (like a phone) without using wires. Wireless Networking and Wi-Fi Networking technologies that connect multiple computers and devices together without wires (like in a wireless local area network) also fall under the wireless umbrella. Often, instead of referring to just 'wireless' for these technologies, the term Wi-Fi will be used (which is trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance). Wi-Fi covers technologies that incorporate 802.11 standards, such as 802.11g or 802.11ac network cards and wireless routers. You can use Wi-Fi to print wirelessly over your network, connect directly to other computers in your network, and, in a pinch when you don't have Wi-Fi available, turn your phone into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for your computer and other devices, using your cellular data for internet access. Find out more about the differences between cellular wireless data and using Wi-Fi for Internet-on-the-go. Bluetooth is another wireless technology you're probably familiar with. If your devices are close enough together and support Bluetooth, you can interconnect them to transmit data without wires. These devices might include your laptop, phone, printer, mouse, keyboard, hands-free headsets and smart devices (e.g. light bulbs and bathroom scales). The Wireless Industry Wireless on its own is typically used to refer to products and services from the cellular telecommunications industry. CTIA, "the Wireless Association", for example, is comprised of wireless carriers (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint), cell phones manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung and others in the mobile phone market. Different wireless (cellular) protocols and phone standards include CDMA, GSM, EV-DO, 3G, 4G, and 5G. The term wireless internet most often refers to cellular data, though the phrase can also mean data access via satellite.