What is Wifi – How does it work

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You must have been to an airport, hotel, coffee shop, library or any event where you have encountered this wireless networking technology.

WiFi is an abbreviated term (commonly accepted amongst techies) which stands for Wireless Fidelity, it is a technology that uses radio waves to provide network connectivity.

What is Wifi

Wireless networking is known as WiFi or 802.11 networking as defined by the IEEE 802.11 specifications of WLANs.  It defines over the air communication interface between the two devices, primarily the access point/base station and the Client/user’s device or PC. Further, there are specifications to 802.11 standards as a/b/g/n/ac* which defines the frequency band of operation, bandwidth/speed and the backward compatibility.

*Ping point: specification “n” is the most commonly available and used. It is also backward compatible with a/b/g and achieves speeds up to 140 megabits per second. Check your router to see what does it support. You generally get a router with specification alphabets (a/b/g/n) names e.g. N –series routers, etc.

Building blocks of Wifi

The major components of the wireless networking/wifi are:

  1. The wireless antennas – Access Points, routers
  2. The wireless adapter (your device) – mobiles, laptops, tablets, PC, etc. equipped with the wifi cards

To use the internet over wifi at home, of course, you need a working internet line which could be:

  • A fiber coming to your home (FTTH – fiber to the home)
  • Analog telephone line (you will use a modem + router to use the internet)
  • A wifi signal provided by your community/building

So these hotspots/access points transmit the radio waves which then are received by your wifi card enabled device thus creating the internet connection. The range of connectivity depends on the type of router and generally it ranges from 100-500 feet.

Wifi Hotspots are the area covered by the accessible wireless network.

Ping tip: You can create your own wireless hotspot with your Mobile phone or by using a portable hotspot device and putting your mobile SIM card enabled with internet subscription.

How it works

The wireless access points/routers receive information from the internet, translate it into the radio signals and send it over the wireless network to the connected devices/receivers/adapter.

The same process also happens in reverse, i.e. the wireless adapters or your connected device translates the data and send it via the radio waves to the access point/router, which then send it over the internet with the help of physical wired connection.

With the astounding increase in the internet traffic, we have seen an amazing growth in the bandwidth and speed available to the end user. The devices these days are bandwidth hungry as the content is being produced rapidly than ever.

From December 1995 till September 2016 the internet users have grown from 16 million to 3675 million.

Thanks to the wireless connectivity technologies, now the world is always connected.


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