Signal Strength

A signal is a form of an electromagnetic field or an electric current which serves by way of supporting or moving data from a certain place to another place.[1] It helps people to connect all over the world and also to reach different networks. A signal contributes a lot to the daily lives of the people and is beneficial in all ways, most especially, for communication purposes such as having Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity). Wi-Fi is a wireless network that allows the people, technologies, and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal.[2] Together, Wi-Fi signals are considered as electromagnetic waves that traverse through the air and help everyone to transfer information through audio, video, voices or data without wires and that makes it very relevant and useful for communication.[3] Thus, the stronger the signal the faster it conveys the data from one device to another device.

Functionality

The operational range of Wi-Fi signal truly depends on different factors such as frequency band, radio power output, receiver sensitivity, antenna gain, antenna type, and modulation technique.[4] The longer the distance and the greater the signal absorption may result in reduced speed. In order for a Wi-Fi network to transmit information to another network, it makes use of radio waves. There must be a wireless adapter to translate data sent into a radio signal. A router will decode the signal that is transmitted through the antenna. After decoded, the data will be sent to the internet through a wired ethernet connection.

To build a network, it needs Wi-Fi technology with unique characteristics. Wi-Fi signal has 2 types based on the frequencies:

  • 2.4 GHz – this is a lower frequency that is most common for Wi-Fi technology. This frequency band can pass through walls and windows.
  • 5GHZ – this is a higher frequency that is only used by a few devices but achieves higher speeds because this frequency band is less crowded.

If a room is full, it is quite hard to have a conversation. That is why people may prefer to transfer to another place to look for a better signal. Hence, if a building is full, it gives difficulty to carry on with a conversation.

Signal Elements

There are 2 elements in order to know how good a wireless device will connect and how far away a receiving Wi-Fi can be and a router’s transmit power can be measured in 2 scales:

  • Milliwatt (mW) – one-thousandth of a single watt (1/1000).
  • dBm – 1 milliwatt is 0dBM, 10mW is 10dBm, 100 mW is 20dBm and so on. This is the most common scale that is used to calculate if longer wireless links will work.

Types of Wi-Fi Signals

Furthermore, there are different types of Wi-Fi signals based on the technology that will be used to wit:[5]

Television

  • Analog video – amplitude modulated from 50MHz to 800 MHz
  • Digital Video – complex modulation from 200 MHz to 800 MHz

Cellular Phone

  • Voice – analog or digital modulation from 800 MHz to 900 MHz
  • 3G, 4G, LTE – digital modulation from 1700 MHz to 1900 MHz and others
  • Bluetooth – digital modulation at 2400 MHz
  • Walkie-talkie / two-way radio – analog AM, FM or digital modulation over many frequencies.

Antenna

  • Many types of signals – voice, audio, video, and data
  • Many modulation types – analog and digital
  • Many frequencies – 3400 MHz, 5900 MHz, 10.7 GHz, 14.5 GHz, 23 GHz and, others

Laptop

  • Wi-Fi – digital modulation at 2400MHz or 5000 to 5800 MHz
  • Bluetooth – digital modulation at 2400MHz

Radio

  • AM Radio – AM modulation from 0.6MHz to 1.6MHz
  • FM Radio – FM modulation from 88MHz to 108MHz

Signal has always been associated with everything that connects people to other people and that is through the use of Wi-Fi.

History

In the year 1997, when a committee known as 802.11 was created, Wi-Fi was also invented. With these new discoveries, it led to the creation of IEEE802.11 which defines communication for wireless local area networks or WLAN. In 1999, Wi-Fi was introduced for home use.[6] IEEE was chaired by Vic Hayes who has been considered and is well known as the father of Wi-Fi. In the year 2003, Wi-Fi speeds were faster and versions were combined for 802.11g standard. The routers were becoming better, higher power and further coverage than before. It was catching up with other fastest wired connections. 2009 was the year for the final version of 802.11n and that was even faster and more reliable than the predecessor. A time came when 2.4Ghs became overcrowded because of an increasing number of devices, with this, 5GHz became the option. On 2012, 5GHz was aimed to be better. It had a greater width, can support more antennas which mean more data could be sent more quickly and had four times the speed of Wi-Fi 801.11n.

Today, the performance of Wi-Fi signals continue to improve and is considered as one of the most widely used wireless communication technologies. It makes people's life easier and faster in building networks and creating connections. There are several Wi-Fi access points that are set up to different public places that give convenient internet signals for the people. It has also given the people a standard degree of connectivity that wherever they go, they can always rely on Wi-Fi signals.[7] Recent developments and advances have already been made for the lives of the people. It is notable that the Wi-Fi signal has become a relevant part of people’s personal and professional life and is continuously improving its efficiency.

New Developments

A newly developed wireless internet network was developed by scientists from the Eindhoven University of Technology. It is based on infrared rays which are 100 times faster than the existing signals and it also has a huge capacity of 40Gbit/s. This new system uses light rays only to download but uploads are still done through radio signals.[8]

Common Issues

A common issue that everyone faces with regard to signal strength on a daily basis is the inconsistency of the Wi-Fi signal. Sometimes it has a strong signal but may sometimes present a very low signal. With this, the router can be moved to a more centralized location because the closer the router is to the center of the coverage area the better reception will be captured.[9]


  1. https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/signal ↩︎

  2. https://techterms.com/definition/wi-fi ↩︎

  3. https://www.commotionwireless.net/docs/cck/networking/learn-wireless-basics/ ↩︎

  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi#Performance ↩︎

  5. https://www.commotionwireless.net/docs/cck/networking/learn-wireless-basics/ ↩︎

  6. https://purple.ai/blogs/history-wifi/ ↩︎

  7. https://purple.ai/blogs/history-wifi/ ↩︎

  8. https://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/tags/wifi-technology ↩︎

  9. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/wi-fi-problems-and-solutions/ ↩︎