What is Wi-Fi? and How does it Work?

As technology continues to evolve and spread into the tiniest corners of the world, it may surprise you that many people don’t know that Wi-Fi is an abbreviated term.

Wireless technology can get you connected almost anywhere, work, school, libraries, airport and even restaurants. There are a lot of theories surrounding the term, but the most widely accepted definition in the tech community is “Wireless Fidelity“.

It’s also sometimes spelt as wifi, Wi-Fi, WIFI or WiFi, but none of these is officially approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi is the world’s most popular wireless networking technology. NCR Corporation/AT&T invented it in the Netherlands in 1991.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a wireless networking protocol that allows devices to communicate without the aid of internet cords. It’s a technology that uses radio waves to provide network connectivity. This connection is established using a wireless adapter to create hotspots, and devices in the vicinity or range of the hotspot can have access to internet services.

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Once it is configured, it provides wireless connectivity to your devices by emitting frequencies ranging from 2.4GHz – 5GHz, though it’s based on the amount of data on the network.

How does it work?

Like every mobile device, a Wi-Fi network makes use of radio waves to transfer information across its network. This includes a wireless adapter that will translate the data sent into a radio signal. This same signal will then be transmitted through an antenna than to a decoder known as the router. Once the data is decoded, the data will be sent to the Internet through a wired Ethernet connection.

Wi-Fi

Take note that wireless network works as a two-way traffic, the data received from the other end will also pass through the router to be coded into a radio signal that will be received by the computer’s wireless adapter.

An example is a typical home, where a router transmits an internet connection coming from a source outside the network, like an ISP (Internet Service Provider), and it delivers that service to a nearby device that can reach its wireless signal.

No matter how the Wi-Fi is being used or the source of its connection, the result is always the same; a wireless signal that allows other devices to connect to its main transmitter for communication (transfer of data or voice messages).

In simple terms, Wi-Fi can be said to be a network that gives access to internet services from any capable wireless device like a tablet, a laptop or a smartphone. Most modern devices now support Wi-Fi so it can easily access a network to get internet access and share resources through the network.

Types of WI-FI Technologies

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A wireless network transmits at a frequency level of 2.4GHz or 5GHz for it to adapt to the amount of data that is being sent by its user. The 802.11 is the working standard, but it varies based on the user’s needs. They are the four major types of Wi-Fi technologies.

Wi-Fi-802.11a

It transmits data at a frequency of 5GHz. it defines the format and the structure of the radio signal that can be sent out by the Wi-Fi routers and antennas. The OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing) uses an enhanced reception by dividing the radio signals into small bits before it gets to the router. With this wireless network, you can transmit a maximum of 54 MB/s.

Wi-Fi-802.11b

This wireless network supports a bandwidth of 11MB/s. when its signal is regulated its frequency is around 2.5GHz. It is a low frequency compared to the 802.11a frequency.

Wi-Fi-802.11g

It transmits data at 2.4GHz but it can also transmit a maximum of 54 MB/s because it uses an OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing) coding. It’s more expensive than 802.11b.

Wi-Fi-802.11n

This is the latest Wi-Fi technology. It was designed to succeed in the 802.11g. It can transmit a maximum of 140 MB/s and it uses a frequency level of 5GHz. the amount of bandwidth is supported by using multiple wireless signals and antennas instead of one and it has increased signal intensity.

Is it secure?

Security is not a hidden element when it concerns Wi-Fi technology, besides, security is a personal decision because some people might leave their Wi-Fi network open but having a wireless connection, we should always pay attention to protect our private details from prying eyes. It is advisable to be careful when we want to connect to an unsecured wireless router.

How to make your Wi-Fi secure

All routers are provided with a web page to connect to for easy configuration of the Wi-Fi security. By turning on the WEP (Wired Equivalence Privacy) and entering a password in the configuration page makes your Wi-Fi secure. Once this is done, whenever you try to connect with any device, you will be asked to enter the connection password to gain access to the network.

Is Wi-Fi free?

There are a lot of places to get access to Wi-Fi for free places like airports, subway, public squares, hotels etc. but we all know Wi-Fi is not free because it’s Wi-Fi; the cost is determined whether the service is capped or not.

Application area of Wi-Fi

  • Video conferencing
  • Surfing the Internet
  • Home appliances
  • Mobile applications
  • Automotive segment
  • Business applications

What are Hotspots?

A hotspot is a term used to define an area where a Wi-Fi network can be accessed. It can either be a closed or open network in a public place like a restaurant or an airport.

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To access a hotspot, your Wi-Fi must be turned on in your device. And if it’s open, you can connect to it directly, but if it is password protected (closed) then you will need a password to access the network. Fortunately, hotspots in public areas are open for everyone. Take note that connecting to a Wi-Fi network that is not yours puts your privacy in great danger.

Advantages

  • It allows wireless connectivity to the Internet
  • Its configuration is easy
  • It can be moved from one place to another.
  • It allows a connection to the Internet through hotspots

Does it have any disadvantage?

It does. Some are listed below;

  • Wi-Fi generates radiation that can be harmful to your health
  • It’s advisable to disconnect from the Wi-Fi whenever you are no longer using the server.
  • It has some limits to transfer data as it doesn’t transfer data for long-distance.

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