In this era of great technological advancements, Wi-Fi has become an important part of our daily lives. From providing internet access to enabling remote access to modern day digital devices like baby monitors, Wi-Fi has proven to be useful in a variety of sectors. However, few of us truly understand what Wi-Fi really is or how it even works.
If you fall in this category, you have come to the right place. We are going to tell you all that you need to know about Wi-Fi.
What is Wi-Fi?
A trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi is technology that is used for wireless local area networking. As such, this technology can be used on smartphones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, digital cameras and even video game consoles.
It allows two or more Wi-Fi enabled devices to communicate with each other or even access the internet without the use of any cables.
Terms you need to know
When discussing Wi-Fi technology, there are several terms you need to be acquainted with. These include:
Bluetooth: A Wi-Fi standard that is used for short-range wireless connectivity
Access Point (AP): A device that connects a wired network to wireless clients
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP): A security algorithm for wireless networks that are based on the IEEE 802.11 standard. It is worth noting that Wi-Fi technology is based on the IEEE 802.11 standard
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA): A security protocol that was built to replace WEP. Although this protocol does have its vulnerabilities, it is way more resistant to attacks than WEP
Wi-Fi Protected Access v2 (WPA2): Currently the strongest security protocol.
How does Wi-Fi work?
Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit data across a local area network (LAN). These waves are transmitted in frequencies of between 2.5 and 5GHz and can only be translated by a wireless adapter; a device that is incorporated in most computers and mobile devices. The range of these waves can be expanded by the use of a Wi-Fi range extender.
What are Wi-Fi hotspots?
Wi-Fi hotspots are areas that offer public access to Wi-Fi networks. While some hotspots are private networks (password protected), others are open networks (need no password). Additionally, some hotspots are free while others have an hourly or daily charge.
Noticeably present in many hotels, malls, airports, and restaurants, Wi-Fi hotspots are one of the most popular ways in which people access the internet. It is also worth noting that you can turn your mobile device into a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing computers and other devices to use its cellular network connection.
Setting up your own Wi-Fi access?
If you or your business highly depend on internet access or general networking, it would be best if you set up your own Wi-Fi access. To do so, you will need a wireless router. You will then need access to its admin management pages. This will allow you to configure the correct settings.
Another thing you will need to do is to configure your device to access the provided Wi-Fi network. In the rare occurrence that your device doesn’t come with a built-in wireless adapter, you won’t be able to connect to any wireless network. However, you can easily remedy this problem by buying a Wi-Fi USB adapter.
Advantages of Wi-Fi
Whether you are using Wi-Fi for your everyday home internet access or for your business, you will realize that it comes with some noticeable pros. These include:
- The fact that you can easily access a Wi-Fi network without the use of any cable provides a convenience that wired networks just don’t
- By allowing users to access wireless networks even when they are away from their conventional work environment, use of Wi-Fi leads to increased worker mobility. This greatly increases productivity
- Setting up a wireless network is easy and requires little more than a single router. On the other hand, wired networks require the installation of actual physical cables
- Unlike wired networks, Wi-Fi networks are easy to expand. No wiring is required
- Wireless networks are cheaper to run than wired ones
Things to be concerned about
As much as we love Wi-Fi, we have to tell you that it does have its limitations. These include:
- Like all radio frequency transmissions, Wi-Fi networks experience interference
- Wireless networks have been known to face security issues. As such, such networks may choose to utilize encryption technology
- Most wireless networks are much slower than their wired counterparts
- While a single wireless router can comfortably provide internet access to an entire home, a company building will need several access points
In spite of a few flaws here and there, Wi-Fi is a very efficient networking technology. This is evident by the increasing number of people who rely on Wi-Fi networks for their homes and businesses.