Pros & Cons of Wireless Internet Access

by Anthony Oster

The advent of wireless Internet service has changed both the way that people use the Internet and the devices that they use to get online. Wireless Internet technology has given rise to tablet computers, smartphones and mobile computing capabilities in MP3 players and other small devices. Though there are many reasons to support using wireless Internet, there are also several cons that you may want to consider before going completely wireless in your home or office.

Ease of Access

The most immediate advantage for wireless Internet access is that you are not bound to sit at your desk, using a computer that is wired into your modem or router. Wireless Internet access enables you to use your laptop or Wi-Fi devices anywhere in your home, whether you are looking at a recipe on your tablet in the kitchen or reading the news in bed on your smartphone.

Multiple Users

By using wireless Internet access, your home can support numerous Wi-Fi devices simultaneously, without the need to run Ethernet wires throughout your home. Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including MP3 players, tablets and video game systems can all reap the benefits of accessing the Internet wirelessly. Some TVs can also utilize a wireless Internet connection to stream movies, music and games directly to your TV.

Bandwidth Usage

While Wi-Fi access can increase the amount of devices connected to your network, this also comes at the disadvantage of your bandwidth usage increasing. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data traffic being sent from and received by your home network. There is a finite limit to the amount of data that can be sent at one time, which may slow your Internet connection to a crawl if you have multiple devices drawing a steady connection.

Slower Speed

Related to bandwidth, the speed of wireless Internet access has been found to be drastically slower than wired Internet connections on the same network. A 2011 study titled "Wi-Fi in the Home" found that wireless Internet connections were up to 30 percent slower than wired Internet connections on the same network.

Security

Though wireless Internet access increases where you can extend Internet service within your home, the signal from your wireless router may extend beyond your home. Though most wireless routers give users the ability to set a network password, failure to utilize this feature could leave your home network open to intrusion and your Internet connection open to anyone within range of your broadcast antenna.

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

Photo Credits

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