What equipment do you need for a Wi-Fi network?

A Wi-Fi network starts with an Access Point, which is the broadcasting device you attach to the Internet through a cable or DSL modem.  The Access Point uses a type of radio signal to communicate with PCs or laptops equipped with compatible wireless network adapters.  The equipment is labeled with the standard it supports, listed here with newest and fastest first:  802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b and 802.11a.  Devices are backward compatible, meaning newer ones will work with the older ones, just at a slower speed.