Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope
Tower emitting wireless signal.

Alternatively called cordless, the term wireless describes technology that transmits information or electricity through the air electromagnetically, without wires. The wireless transmission medium may be light, sound, or a magnetic or electric field distortion.

Cordless hardware

Cordless computer hardware devices such as a cordless mouse or cordless keyboard can use Bluetooth, Infrared, or RF (radio frequency). However, today, it's often either Bluetooth or RF.


Although cordless devices require no wires, they require some device to broadcast a signal. For example, a Bluetooth mouse requires a USB (universal serial bus) Bluetooth transceiver to send and receive signals from the mouse. Also, all wireless hardware devices require batteries for power.

Wireless networks

Access point

Wireless networks, more commonly known as Wi-Fi networks, utilize one of the IEEE 802.11 standards for wireless communication. Today, wireless routers that offer Wi-Fi have become common in most homes as a way for computers, smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices to connect to the Internet.

Wireless broadband

Besides wireless networks in the home, there are other broadband wireless solutions, such as EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized), Satellite, and WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). Smartphones users can also use their smartphone as a wireless hotspot and connect to that hotspot with their computer.

Smartphones and cell phones

Apple iPhone

Today's smartphones and cell phones use many wireless technologies to communicate with cell towers, Wi-Fi, and other devices. Phone calls use a spectrum of radio waves that allow wireless communication between the phone and cell towers, which relay the signal to other towers or locations.

When communicating over the Internet and not using Wi-Fi, smartphones have many different technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), GSM (Global System for Mobile communication), and LTE (Long-Term Evolution).

Finally, smartphones use Bluetooth when communicating with other devices (e.g., car, headset, or speakers).

Other examples of wireless devices

Garmin GPS unit.

There are many wireless devices available today. To help prevent conflicts between wireless devices, each device category has a designated frequency area (spectrum).

  • AirPods and other wireless earphones.
  • AM / FM (frequency modulation) radio
  • Apple AirPort
  • Apple Pencil
  • Baby monitors
  • Broadcast TV
  • Car key remote
  • CB (citizens band) radio
  • Cordless phones
  • Garage door opener
  • GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • MySensors
  • Remote control cars, airplanes, and other vehicles.
  • Radar for air traffic control.
  • Radar for weather
  • Radar speed detector
  • RFID (radio frequency identification)
  • Satellite TV
  • Security cameras
  • Standard time broadcast
  • Toll-road payment transponders.
  • Two-way radios
  • Walkie talkie
  • Wireless doorbells
  • Wireless fence
  • Wireless headphones, microphones, speakers, and other audio devices.
  • Wireless health monitors
  • Zigbee

Can I have multiple wireless devices in my home?

Yes. You can have multiple wireless devices in your home. However, if any wireless device shares the same frequency range, you may run into problems if two or more devices use the same range at the same time. When problems occur, you may have a wireless device temporarily stop working.


Your neighbor's wireless devices can cause problems with wireless devices in your home.


For more sophisticated wireless devices like a wireless router, it's possible to switch the wireless frequency range to fix conflicts.

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