Does Wi-Fi Work Without Internet

Wi-Fi is virtually everywhere. When it comes to networking technologies, Wi-Fi is misunderstood. Due to the widespread popularity, the terms Wi-Fi and internet are often used interchangeably. Wi-Fi and internet are not the same thing at all.

Wi-Fi specifically refers to wireless connectivity using the Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) standard. The Wi-Fi standard is a local area network technology. This makes it useful for connecting computers, smartphones, printers and other devices to a common local network. Wi-Fi is a direct replacement for connecting devices via ethernet cables.

Wi-Fi Router

The internet is a global system of networks connected together using common communication standards. The internet is what makes it possible for someone in New York to access a website hosted in Los Angeles or even in Tokyo. At its core the internet is simply a massive global network of devices and common protocols to enable communication.

Obviously the internet is much more complicated, but it is best to think of the internet simply as a global communications network. To access the internet we need a way of hooking our local area networks up to the larger global network known as the internet.

The way we connect to the global network is by using an internet service provider (ISP). An ISP is simply a company that sells you a slice of their network and their connection to other networks. ISPs then pay to connect to other ISPs and to global internet exchange points.

The infrastructure used by an ISP to connect you to the internet can cost millions or even billions of dollars. Fortunately due to the economies of scale most ISPs these days can offer reliable internet service for less than $100 per month. As much as we all hate paying for internet service, the price we pay for access to the global internet infrastructure is surprisingly cheap.

DNS Server

Now that we have established the differences between Wi-Fi and internet we can answer the question. Does Wi-Fi work without internet?

Yes, Wi-Fi one hundred percent works without internet. Wi-Fi enables you to connect devices to a local area network without the use of data cabling. Internet is not required to connect to a Wi-Fi network and to share local resources such as files and printers.

One thing to keep in mind is that without an internet service provider (ISP) your Wi-Fi connection will not be able to reach out to the global internet. You will only be able to access devices connected to your local network.

Most people are going to want to have access to the internet and therefore will need an ISP to connect them. However if you do not have internet service or you are experiencing and internet outage, there are several thing your Wi-Fi can do without a connection to the internet.

5 Things Your Wi-Fi can do Without Internet

  1. Access Your Printer Wirelessly
  2. Access Files Stored on a Network Attached Storage Device
  3. Stream Media From a Network Attached Storage Device
  4. Host a LAN Party and Game With Zero Latency
  5. Access Files Stored on Another Device

Access Your Printer Wirelessly

One of the great benefits of have a Wi-Fi network at home is the ability to share a printer with multiple devices. It is now possible to print directly from almost any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop) without ever having to connect a cable to your printer. Technologies such as Apple’s AirPrint make setting up a wireless printer easier than ever.

Internet access is not required to use a Wi-Fi printer on your local area network. The communication from your device simply travels to your Wi-Fi router and from your router to your printer. No internet required!

Access Files Stored on a Network Attached Storage Device

Wi-Fi technology makes it simple to set up a network attached storage device (NAS) on your network. A NAS device has many benefits that make it worthwhile for many people. With a NAS device you can affordably get terabytes of storage for all of your media files without ever paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee. This can make a NAS device highly cost effective if you have lot of files to store.

Additionally a NAS device can be used to make automated backups of computers attached to the network. This is hugely important if you have important documents that you are not storing using a cloud storage option such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive.

A NAS device is attached to your local network, this means that no internet access is required to use a NAS. It also means that your data is potentially safer than it is with a cloud storage option. Although cloud storage is also pretty safe these days as long as you are using a strong password and 2 factor authentication (2FA).

Stream Media From a Network Attached Storage Device

Many people have large collections of media. Whether that be music, video, picture, or all of the above. With a NAS device your media library is centralized and available for playback from any network connected device. This means that if you want to stream media from your NAS to your laptop or tablet you can easily do that.

The local nature of streaming from a NAS also means that you will never have any issues with buffering or loading. The path your media takes is simply from your NAS to your router and from your router to your streaming device.

Streaming from a NAS device also does not use any internet data. This means that if you have an internet connection with a strict data cap a NAS is your best friend, You do not need internet to use Wi-Fi to stream media from a NAS to your favorite device.

Host a LAN Party and Game With Zero Latency

Annoyed by high latency when playing online games? Gather some friends and host a LAN party. With a LAN party there is essentially zero latency because your devices are all connected to the same local area network. Many newer games lack LAN party options, so make an excuse to dust off some of your old favorites. With a LAN party you can have that true 0 ms ping gaming experience that you have always wanted.

All that is needed is a few friends, your gaming devices, a network switch or router, and of course your favorite games. We might suggest some pizza and your favorite caffeinated beverage as well.

Access Files Stored on Another Device

Similarly to how Wi-Fi can be used to connect your device to a NAS device, Wi-Fi can also be used to connect 2 or more computers directly to each other in order to share files. This option is much more convenient than running around with a flash drive trying to copy files from one device to another.

Wi-Fi makes this setup process simple and free from any wires. Whether you choose to set this up through a Wi-Fi router or Ad-Hoc directly from computer to computer, Wi-Fi makes accessing files stored on another device a breeze. Best of all no internet access is required and therefore, no internet service provider is required!

How to Set Up a Wi-Fi Router Without Internet

The process of setting up a Wi-Fi router without internet is virtually the same as with internet. The only difference is that you will not connect anything to the WAN /Internet port on your router since you are not connecting your router to the internet.

Log in to Your Router

Open your web browser. I am using Chrome, but this process will also work in any modern web browser including Safari, Edge, Firefox, etc. In the address bar enter the IP address of your router. If you are unsure of your routers IP address, open a command prompt window and type ipconfig. Look for default gateway, assuming you are plugged in to the router with an ethernet cable this will be the IP address of your router. The IP address with most likely start with either 10, 172, or 192 and end with 1.

This will open your router’s login page. You may get a security warning because many routers use a self signed SSL certificate. This is completely normal and not a cause for concern. Simply choose to proceed anyways. You may need to click advanced to expose this option if you are using Chrome.

Ubiquiti Router SSL Warning

From here you will reach the login page of your router. If you changed your login credentials when you set up your router you will enter them here. If you did not change your login credentials you will enter the default credentials for your router. Sometimes they are printed on the bottom of your router. If not simply Google the brand of your router and look up the default login credentials.

Ubiquiti Router Login Dashboard

Once you enter your login credentials successfully, you will reach the admin dashboard of your router. 

Set the Name of Your Wi-Fi Network (SSID)

The wireless feature on the router is likely already enabled by default, but in rare cases it may not be. Navigate to the wireless menu and make sure Wi-Fi is enabled. You will likely want both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHZ bands enabled on your router. Next you will want to change the wireless SSID (Service Set Identifier), password, and security protocol. Using a unique SSID is a best security practice and changing the password is the single most important step to securing your Wi-Fi network.

A default password offers essentially no security at all. It is like locking your front door, leaving the key inside of the lock. Anyone who walks up to the door immediately knows how to get in. Change your password to something unique and at least 15 characters in length for best security. If you want to you can tape the Wi-Fi password you set to the bottom of your router.

You will also want to make sure that only WPA 2 is enabled and not older encryption standards such as WPA or WEP. These older standards are much less secure than WPA 2, also disable WPS for maximum security.

Conclusion

Wi-Fi works completely fine without internet, There are a variety of ways that Wi-Fi can be used to access local resources without needing an internet service provider (ISP). If you wish to have access to the internet you will need an ISP to connect you to the global network know as the internet. As long as you are okay with only having access to resources located on your home network you do not need internet to use Wi-Fi.

If you are looking for more information about choosing an internet service provider (ISP) please click the link below.

Internet Connection Types Compared – What You Need to Know

Cable Modem

Additionally if you are looking for connectivity alternatives to Wi-Fi click the link below to learn about 5 alternatives to Wi-Fi for your home network.

5 Wi-Fi Alternatives for Your Home Network

Wi-Fi Alternatives

FAQ

Do I Need an Internet Provider to Use Wi-Fi

You do not need an internet provider to use Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi is a wireless standard for connecting devices to a local network. If you do not have an internet provider you will be limited to accessing local resources such as printers, network attached storage devices. and downloaded media.

Wi-Fi Router Without Internet Provider

You do not need an internet provider to use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a wireless standard for connecting devices to a local network. If you do not have an internet provider you will be limited to accessing local resources such as printers, network attached storage devices. and downloaded media.

Can You Use a Wi-Fi Router Without a Service Provider

You do not need an internet provider to use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a wireless standard for connecting devices to a local network. If you do not have an internet provider you will be limited to accessing local resources such as printers, network attached storage devices. and downloaded media.

Is Wi-Fi Possible Without Internet?

Wi-Fi is possible with out internet. Wi-Fi can be used to access local resources including printers, network files shares, and local media files without internet. You do not need an internet service provider to use Wi-Fi to access local network resources.

Which is Better Wi-Fi or Internet?

Internet and Wi-Fi are two different things. One is not better than the other. Wi-Fi is an alternative to ethernet to allow devices to connect to a local network without needing wires. Internet is a global network of connected devices that communicate through common protocols.

What is the Difference Between a Wireless Router and a Wi-Fi Router?

They are the same thing. The term Wi-Fi refers to the IEEE 802.11 standard. When it comes to routers a Wi-Fi router is the exact same thing as a wireless router. They are just terms that are used interchangeably to mean the same exact thing.

Do You Need Both a Modem and a Router?

in most cases you need both a modem and a router. A modem is used to connect you to your internet service provider and a router is needed to share your internet connection with multiple devices. If you only want to connect a single device you do not need a router.

Does Ethernet Cable Override Wi-Fi

In most modern operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux the default behavior is for ethernet to override Wi-Fi as your primary network connection. It is however possible to configure your operating system to use Wi-Fi and ethernet together for certain functions.

Does Having 2 Routers Increase Internet Speed?

No having two routers does not increase internet speed. In fact having two routers connected together results in a double NAT environment which can actually lower internet speeds even further. It is best to only have one router per network. If you need to extend Wi-Fi use an access point.

Can a House Have Two Wi-Fi Routers

Having two Wi-Fi routers connected together is a bad idea. Two routers connected together results in a double NAT environment which can lower internet speeds and cause other problems. It is best to only have one router per network. If you need to extend Wi-Fi use an access point.

How Can I Get Ethernet in a Room Without a Port

The best way is to run an ethernet cable to where it is needed. If that is not possible look into powerline networking kits. Powerline kits use your existing AC wiring to transmit data signals. Simply connect your device to the powerline adapter and plug into a wall outlet.

Does Buying a New Router Increase Internet Bill

Your internet bill won’t go up by buying a new router. Your internet bill is based on the price you agreed to with your internet service provider. You can save additional money in many cases by purchasing your own modem and returning your rental modem to your internet service provider.

How Can I Get Wi-Fi at Home Without a Service Provider

Purchase a Wi-Fi router from the retailer of your choice. Plug it in to power. Connect your devices to the Wi-Fi network. You now have Wi-Fi without a service provider. Keep in mind this will not provide you with internet. If you need internet access, you need a service provider.

What’s the Difference Between Wi-Fi and Internet?

Wi-Fi is a local area network technology used for connecting computers, smartphones, printers and other devices to a local area network. The internet is a global system of networks connected together using common communication standards.it is best to think of the internet as a global communications network.