WiFi (Wireless) FAQ

What is WiFi?

A WiFi (wireless) connection uses radio frequency signals to send data between your modem/router and computers or other WiFi devices. WiFi means you can surf the net in different areas of your home without needing cables.

The radio frequencies used by WiFi (802.11) are similar to those used by wireless home phones. These signals are ideal for small areas such as a house or small office.

 

What do I need to use WiFi?

  • An active internet connection.
  • A router to broadcast your internet as a WiFi signal. Most modems have this router ability built in, but in some cases a separate router may be plugged in to a modem to handle the WiFi.
  • A computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet that has a wireless network adapter. Most modern devices have this built in by default – some computers may need to have a wireless adapter installed. Alternatively, you could buy a plugin USB WiFi adapter from any good computer store.
     

How do I set up my WiFi network?

If you bought your modem from Westnet, its setup guide will tell you exactly how to set up your home WiFi. For third-party modems, please check its user manual for instructions.

 

Do I need to use a password for my WiFi network?

Yes. Your WiFi network must be set with a password. Without one, your WiFi network is open to anyone within range of your wireless signal. That means someone could potentially use your data, change your modem settings or even access your VoIP phone details (if applicable) and use it to make calls.

All modems sold by Westnet feature WPA/WPA2-PSK encryption passwords by default. Third party modems may have no passwords used in their default WiFi settings, so please check carefully when setting up your network.

 

How far does a WiFi signal reach?

A typical WiFi signal has a range of roughly 30 metres, though this can be reduced by factors such as the ability of the modem/router, any walls or obstacles in the area, or other factors that may interfere with the wireless signal.

See Improving your WiFi Signal to learn more.

 

Is WiFi as reliable as an Ethernet connection?

No; but this shouldn’t be an issue for everyday internet use including browsing, social media and YouTube. As wireless connection stability and speeds can vary due to signal interference and distance from the router, a cable connection will always be more reliable for heavy or time-sensitive usage such as online gaming.

 

What are the different types of WiFi (WiFi modes/standards)?

All modem routers currently sold by Westnet feature 802.11n WiFi, and some also support the latest 802.11ac WiFi.

Simplified name* Wireless mode
Year released Theoretical max throughput speed General use
WiFi 2 802.11b 2000 8 Mbps Wireless dropout troubleshooting (network stability).
WiFi 3 802.11g 2003 54 Mbps Devices manufactured between 2003-2009, wireless dropout troubleshooting (network stability).
WiFi 4 802.11n 2009 300 Mbps Devices manufactured from 2009 onwards; most modern devices will have legacy support for this type of WiFi.
WiFi 5 802.11ac 2014 500 Mbps to 1 Gbps Devices manufactured from 2009 onwards; most modern devices support this type of WiFi.
WiFi 6 802.11ax Pending release (2020/21) Estimated 1.2 to 4.8Gbps This new type of WiFi hasn't been fully released yet, but once it has, the latest tech devices will likely support it.

*In 2019, the WiFi Alliance proposed simplified names for WiFi technologies to be more accessible to the average user.