One reader wasn’t too pleased with my attempts to explain how wireless works. I got this comment on the article:  “As with most techies, you can’t resist using jargon and acronyms. If you want to teach beginners, EXPLAIN. Even if you find the thought of someone not knowing the meaning of these acronyms, etc. to be unbelievable, do it anyway.
1.”Public source” – explain
2. “3G or 4G” – what is it?
3. “DSL line” – what is it?
4. router, modem – what are they?
5. there is actually no response to her statement – “I don’t know the difference between an I-pad, or I-phone, or a tablet, or a smartphone, etc. etc.”
To educate, you must put yourself in the student’s place.
I find the indiscriminate use of acronyms to be elitist – “I know something you don’t, nyah, nyah.”

I’m certainly not trying to tease. The reason I used those particular acronyms is that these are the terms the companies that provide them will use. I have covered these terms in other articles, but I’d be glad to go over them again.  So let’s break down what the terms mean.


Public source:  I meant just that. WiFi that’s available for the public to use. It could be a from a library, school, restaurant or other business.

3G and 4G refer to two types of standards for  connections offered by wireless companies to use with mobile devices. These are the types of connections you would use for your smartphone service. 3G is third-generation and 4 G stands for fourth-generation. 4G is the faster of the 2.

DSL – refers to a digital subscriber line. It refers to high-speed connections offered over telephone networks.

A modem is a device that connects your PC to the Internet. It modulates your incoming and outgoing digital signals so that the service provider can connect with your PC and your PC can connect to your Internet Service Provider.

A router is a device that broadcasts a wireless signal from your modem. Wireless devices in your home like a laptop, tablet, PC, game console or smart home hub can then connect to that signal to interact with the Internet.

Below are some links that can help explain the difference among tablets.

You also might want to check out our Ultimate Tech Dictionary. It’s free for Premium members.

~ Cynthia