Wi-Fi

In today's time, a large majority know or have an idea what Wi-Fi is. However, Wi-Fi is just a marketing name that stands for "wireless fidelity".[1] It is considered as a broadband technology that broadcasts a wireless local area network (WLAN) through the use of radio waves that produce a wireless high-speed internet and network connection. Through this, it allows different devices to communicate without the use of any cords. Unlike the Ethernet, Wi-Fi does not require a physical wired connection between the sender and the receiver.

Wi-Fi is definitely considered as one of the most important technological developments. It is because of this wireless networking standard that people are now able to enjoy all the benefits and convenience brought by the easy access to internet connection. There are many applications and different devices that support the establishment of Wi-Fi such as video games consoles, home networks, PDAs, mobile phones, operating systems and other types of electronics.[2]

Functionality

Establishing a Wi-Fi network requires devices with the ability to transmit wireless signals. Devices such as a phone, computer, or a router are able to do so. At home, a router is used to transmit an internet connection from the outside public network to a private home or office network. It provides an internet connection to nearby devices that are within the reachable wireless range. Aside from a router, another way to use Wi-Fi is through establishing a Wi-Fi hotspot. Some phones or computers can share its wireless or wired internet connection to other connecting devices by broadcasting the signal.

Different from Ethernet, Wi-Fi uses radio waves that transmit information with specific frequencies, such as 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels. Both frequency ranges have a number of channels through which different wireless devices can operate, helping to spread the load so that individual device connections are not interrupted. This largely works to prevent overcrowding in wireless networks.

Typically, a 100-meter range is the typical range of a standard Wi-Fi connection. The most common range is limited to 10-35 meters. Even the strength of the antenna and frequency broadcast may greatly impact the effective range of the network. The range and speed of Wi-Fi internet connection depends upon the environment, and whether it provides an indoor or outdoor range. Thus, the speed of different devices using the internet connection of Wi-Fi increases as the computer also gets closer to the main source while the speed decreases as the computer gets further away from the source.[3]

The following are 4 major types of Wi-Fi technologies:

  • Wi-Fi-802.11a – this type defines the structure and format of radio signals transmitted by Wi-Fi networking routers and antennas.
  • Wi-Fi-802.11b – this is a lower frequency than the Wi-Fi-802.11a. It is a low-cost option and the signal range is good when using a home appliance.
  • Wi-Fi-802.11g – this type of technology is fast in accessing and maximum speed.
  • Wi-Fi-802.11n – this is designed in order to improve the Wi-Fi-802.11g. Its bandwidth is supported by using multiple wireless signals and antennas instead of using just one.
  • Wi-Fi-802.11ac - the newest standard was released in 2014 and works exclusively in the 5GHz band enabeling speeds up to multiple Gbps.

History

Vic Hayes was often referred to as the "father of Wi-Fi" in 1974. In the year 1997, Wi-Fi was invented and first released for the benefits of the consumers.[4] Moreover, a basic specification for Wi-Fi was established. This allows 2 megabytes per second of data transfer wirelessly between devices. With this, it sparked the development of prototype equipment that is now known as a router that is able to comply with IEEE802.11. Later, in the year 1999, Wi-Fi was introduced for home-use. In the same year, the term Wi-Fi was commercially used and was coined by the brand-consulting firm Interbrand. This brand-consulting firm also created the known logo that is commonly used to represent Wi-Fi access areas.

Common Issues

The common issue that people have been facing for several years with a wireless network is security and safety. It simplifies the accessibility of networks compared to the traditional wired networks like Ethernet. It reduces security if the network does not use encryption. That is why most business networks protect their sensitive data and systems by disallowing and preventing external access. In order to deter unauthorized users, the SSID broadcast must be disabled. Another solution is to only allow computers that have known MAC addresses to join the network.[5]


  1. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-wi-fi/ ↩︎

  2. https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-wi-fi-2377430 ↩︎

  3. https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Wi_Fi.html ↩︎

  4. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/what-is-wi-fi/ ↩︎

  5. https://www.elprocus.com/how-does-wifi-work/ ↩︎