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Differences Between Internet, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular

What are the differences between wired and wireless connectivity technologies that encompass Internet, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth and Cellular? The main difference between these would be that they are various different forms of wired and wireless connectivity technologies. Read features of each technology below, to fully understand the differences between them.


Internet means a lot of different things to different people, but its strict definition is an international system of multi-connected computer networks allowing computers in various locations to interact with each other in real time, uploading or downloading data and other information to and from various servers.

The most obvious and well-known use of the Internet is when people access websites using a desktop or laptop computer, cell phone, or tablet. Other lesser-known uses include controlling devices remotely such as pumps, fans, lights and checking or monitoring bins, tanks and cameras.

In order to connect to the Internet, an ISP (Internet service provider) needs to provide an Internet connection package. Alternatively, a modem or cell phone with an included data package can be all that is required in order to connect to the Internet.


Ethernet is a system of direct connections between devices that are located close to one another, such as in the same building. Most commonly used to connect computers to printers, Wi-Fi access points, or cameras, ethernet can also be used to directly carry the Internet to compatible devices. Ethernet is also what is used to connect your Wi-Fi network directly to the Internet.

That being said, ethernet does not need an Internet connection in order to do its job. When local devices are connected through a LAN (Local Area Network), these devices can communicate through the ethernet itself, without needing an Internet connection.

An ethernet connection can be by way of cables or wires up to 100 metres in length or can be wireless. Hubs or bridges can be used to extend the range of your ethernet services, sometimes by up to several kilometres.


WiFi allows for wireless connections between many devices. Wi-Fi has become so popular since its inception that WiFi communication is a standard feature in the majority of modern technological devices, making it increasingly easy to connect these devices to a network.

In order for a Wi-Fi connection to deliver Internet services, it must have an ethernet connection to an ISP, or via a modem or cell phone with an Internet data package. In many instances, the connection between ethernet and Wi-Fi is not an obvious one, solely because it happens out of sight, within the router or modem itself.

Small handheld devices such as tablets and cell phones typically have a Wi-Fi range of up to 50 metres. Larger devices, devices that run on external power, or devices that include an antenna, can have a Wi-Fi range of up to 200 metres.


A form of wireless connection used to exchange data between mobile and fixed devices over short distances, Bluetooth is a common form of connection between devices located no more than 10 metres apart, and where data rates are relatively low. Bluetooth has a surprisingly small power requirement, meaning that its effect on a device's battery life is less than using Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection.


A cell phone or a cellular modem provides a wireless connection to the Internet by using cellular towers coupled with a data plan. Depending on the terrain and atmospheric conditions, cellular signals can boast a range of more than 30 kilometres. However, building materials and vehicle body can block them from reaching cell devices such as cell phones and tablet computers with a SIM card in them. If that is a case, consider buying a cell phone signal booster.