Wireless Internet works by utilizing a wireless network that employs radio waves to transmit data. A wireless adapter connected to a computer transforms the data into radio signals that are transmitted via an antenna. A wireless router then decodes the signal and sends it to the Internet.
The process also works the other way around, which allows multiple devices that use wireless Internet to communicate back and forth. Wireless Internet service providers send data in the form of radio signals via cable or a radio transmitter to a radio tower, which then redirects the data to a wireless router. Depending on the distance between the radio tower and the computer using wireless Internet, the signals can jump between multiple towers before reaching their destination. Once the receiver accepts the signals, they travel to the modem, which is where they get demodulated. This process transforms the signals into usable data that the computer can interpret.
Wireless ISPs utilize public frequencies to communicate with receivers. They protect the radio signal by encrypting it, typically through DES encryption. The frequencies that are used to transmit data determine the operational length and the signal quality. A 900 MHz receiver can function at a distance of nearly 40 miles, whereas 5.7 GHz receivers only work up to 2 miles. The downside of receivers that use lower frequencies is that the radio signal can get easily interrupted through interference caused by other signals.