Wireless versus wired. Wi-Fi is the wireless counterpart to Ethernet, which is the universal standard for local area networks (LANs). In both homes and offices, networks are generally a mix of Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Most stationary machines are cabled together via Ethernet, because there is an Ethernet port on every modern computer. Wi-Fi networks (Wi-Fi hotspots) are set up for laptops, smartphones and tablets. However, any desktop machine can be made wireless with an adapter (see wireless adapter). See cellular vs. Wi-Fi, wireless router, access point, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and LAN.