What is a Wi-Fi or wireless network vs. a wired network?

A wireless network allows devices to stay connected to the network but roam untethered to any wires. Access points amplify Wi-Fi signals, so a device can be far from a router but still be connected to the network. When you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot at a cafe, a hotel, an airport lounge, or another public place, you’re connecting to that business’s wireless network.

A wired network uses cables to connect devices, such as laptop or desktop computers, to the Internet or another network. A wired network has some disadvantages when compared to a wireless network. The biggest disadvantage is that your device is tethered to a router. The most common wired networks use cables connected at one end to an Ethernet port on the network router and at the other end to a computer or other device.

Previously it was thought that wired networks were faster and more secure than wireless networks. But continual enhancements to wireless network technology such as the Wi-Fi 6 networking standard have eroded speed and security differences between wired and wireless networks.

A wireless network is also a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and business installations


There are four types of wireless networks — wireless local area networks, wireless metropolitan area networks, wireless personal area networks and wireless wide area networks — each with its own function.

Below we discuss the different types of wireless networks and the various equipment and connections they require.

1. Wireless LAN

Wireless LAN (WLAN) technology provides internet access within a building or a limited outdoor area. First used within offices and homes, WLAN technology is now also used in stores and restaurants. The use of home networks has greatly increased as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced office workers, students, teachers and others to work and study from home.

Most home network designs are simple. A modem connects to the cable or fiber from a local service provider. A wireless router is connected to the modem and receives the signal from the modem, which it then broadcasts using a wireless protocol, such as the 802.11 standards.

Office networks are more complicated. Access points (APs) are mounted on the ceiling, with each broadcasting a wireless signal to the surrounding area. Multiple APs are required in large offices, each connecting to the office backbone network via a wired connection to a switch.

2. Wireless MAN

Wireless metropolitan area networks have been installed in cities worldwide to provide access for people outside an office or home network. These networks cover a wider area than office or home networks, but the principles are the same. APs are located on the sides of buildings or on telephone poles throughout the coverage area. APs are connected to the internet via a wired network and broadcast a wireless signal throughout the area. Users connect to their desired destination by connecting to the nearest AP, which forwards the connection through its internet connection.

wireless networks comparison

3. Wireless PAN

Wireless personal area networks cover a very limited area — typically a maximum of 100 meters for most applications — using protocols like Bluetooth and Zigbee. Bluetooth enables hands-free phone calls, connects a phone to earpieces or transmits signals between smart devices. Zigbee connects stations along an IoT network. Infrared technology is limited to line of sight, such as connecting TV remotes to televisions.

Wireless developers have constantly improved technology by discovering new ways to transmit signals to users. These advances enable higher data rates and increasing range for each of these wireless technologies.

4. Wireless WAN

Wireless WANs use cellular technology to provide access outside the range of a wireless LAN or metropolitan network. These networks enable users to make phone calls to others connecting either through a wireless WAN or a wired telephone system. Users can also connect to the internet to access websites or server-based applications.

Cell towers are located nearly everywhere within the U.S. and most other countries. A user connection is routed to the nearest cell tower which, in turn, is connected either to the wired internet or to another tower connected to wired internet.

What is the main problem in wireless network?

Since wireless devices need to be small and bandwidth constrained, some of the key challenges in wireless networks are Signal fading, mobility, data rate enhancements, minimizing size and cost, user security and Quality of service(QoS).


Some times, your wireless network signal may not be seen and this result in no connectivity at all therefore you can not have access to the internet

 Learning what to look for when your wireless goes down can help you resolve these connection issues.


The following are the reasons why your wifi network may not show up

Router Issues

Your router is a good place to start when troubleshooting a dropped wireless problem. Begin by ensuring that your router is powered on, and that its power light is not flickering or cutting out intermittently. If your router does appear to be powered off, it may be overheating due to dust or debris in its air vents. Gently clean your router’s vents with some compressed air, and retest. If your router has external antennae, ensure that these are correctly fitted to the device’s body.

Physical Interference

For a wireless signal to successfully reach your device, it has to travel as a radio wave between your router and the device itself. Some materials do not conduct radio waves well, meaning that not enough of the signal gets through for your device to see the network. Metal is well known for its ability to absorb and reflect radio signals, but concrete, plaster and toughened glass can also cause problems. If these materials are in the path of your wireless signal, consider moving your device.

Electromagnetic Interference

Some household and office devices emit their own electromagnetic waves. If these waves clash with the radio waves sent by your router they may block your wireless signal’s passage. Common sources of interference include microwave ovens, LCD monitors and cordless phones. In addition, be wary of interference sources located outside your premises, such as electrical substations and power lines. Move your router as far away from these interference source as possible, and retest.

Device Fault

Your wireless signal may be reaching your device, but not showing up due to an error with the device itself. One way to test this is by checking for other wireless networks. If your device can’t detect any wireless networks at all, it may be the source of the problem itself. Turn your device off and back on again, and retest. If this doesn’t work, run a virus scan and remove any infections found. Beyond this, consider contacting your device vendor’s support team.

Having known the causes of wifi not showing we have to look for the solution.

How to Fix Wi-Fi Network Not Showing Up

  1. Troubleshoot your wireless connection. Before you begin trying to fix your Wi-Fi, make sure there is no problem with the device you are trying to connect. If the issue is your Wi-Fi network not showing up on your laptop, for example, take a few minutes to make sure everything on the computer is as it should be. Make sure the Wi-Fi on the device is enabled. This could be a physical switch, an internal setting, or both.
  2. Reboot the modem and router. Power cycling the router and modem can fix internet connectivity issues and resolve problems with wireless connections. It is important to reboot both the modem and the wireless router.
  3. Check to see if the network is hidden Hiding a wireless network can be an effective way to protect privacy. However, it could result in the Wi-Fi network not showing up on a device. In order to connect with a hidden network, the SSID and other network details are required.Access Wi-Fi settings to access the network. While steps could vary between devices, these settings are in Network and Internet Settings in Windows.
    1. Go to Settings > Network and Internet.
    2. Choose Wi-Fi from the left menu.
    3. Then select Manage Known Networks > Add a New Network.
    4. Enter the SSID in the Network Name box.
    5. Select the security type.
    6. Enter the network password in the Security Key box.
    7. Select Connect Automatically.
    8. Select Save. The device will connect to the network if it is accessible.
  4. Look for interference. Numerous objects around a home or office can interfere with a wireless router Check for potential issues, such as appliances, microwaves or fluorescent lights; other wireless devices including gadgets like wireless video game controllers or security cameras; and thick walls or columns.Neighboring wireless networks could also interfere with your own. changing your wifi channel  number could resolve the issue.
  5. Check your ISP Internet Service Provider). If your troubleshooting efforts do not fix the problem, contact your internet service provider. There could be an area-wide issue of which you are unaware, or there might be a defect in the equipment provided by the company.

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