This article provides definitions and answers common definitions regarding WiFi networks and connectivity. To learn how to establish a WiFi network in your restaurant, read our WiFi Overview article.

  • What is Wi-Fi?  Wi-Fi is a wireless communication technology allowing computers to connect with each other.
  • What is internet access?  Internet access implies the ability to connect to the worldwide, interconnected computer network.
  • If I have Wi-Fi, do I have internet?  Not necessarily.  Wi-Fi access can exist without a connection to the internet.  It could be deployed in a manner where a local-only network is created to allow computers to talk to each other, but not to the internet.
  • If I have internet, do I have Wi-Fi?  Not necessarily.  Internet service can be delivered exclusively over a wired Ethernet connection.
  • What is a network?  A network is collection of connected computers that are able to share data with each other.
  • What is a LAN?  A LAN (Local Area Network) is a network typically confined to a single geographic location such as a home or a business.  Typically, there is a switch involved that allows the computers to work with each other.
  • What is a VLAN?  A VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is a logical grouping of computers isolated into their own LAN. This is typically controlled through software in a switch.  It is possible for some switches to support multiple VLANs.
  • What is a Wi-Fi repeater?  A Wi-Fi repeater, or range-extender, is a device that extends the physical range of a Wi-Fi network.
  • What is a router?  A router is a device that connects two or more networks together.  A common type is a device that connects the internet (a global network) to a LAN (a local network).
  • What is a switch?  A switch is a device that allows computers to communicate with each other within a network.
  • What is a firewall?  A firewall is a system whose purpose is to prevent unauthorized access to or from another network.  A firewall is often deployed in between the internet and a business or home LAN. A firewall can be implemented as either software process running on a server or as a dedicated piece of hardware.
  • What is a modem?  A modem is a device typically provided by an Internet Service Provider that provides access to the internet.
  • Are all of these their own device?  It is now common for many routers to be packaged in one form factor to provide Wi-Fi, switching and routing.
  • Can my iPad change networks on it's own? If more than one WiFi connection is available, iPads can sometimes "jump networks" and connect to a different network, with a stronger signal perhaps. You can prevent this by going to the iPad Settings>WiFi and enabling the Ask to Join Networks option. This will prompt a question requesting permission to join a different network before actually doing so. If the question comes up, deny permission to prevent interruptions to Table Tracker. 
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