Wi-Fi Explained (Part 1)


About Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is known as Wireless Fidelity. Wi-Fi allows network connectivity through radio signals without the need for wires. "Wi-Fi Alliance" suggesting the term Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi term is also used as a synonym for any type of 802.11 networks.

About Radio Waves

Radio waves are the longest wavelength waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. The length ranges from the size of a football field to the size of a volley ball. Radio waves carry signals to your radio, TV, mobile, etc.

Access Point Defined

Access Point is the configured node on wireless local area network (WLAN). Access points act as a central receiver and transmitter of WLAN radio signals. Access points are dedicated hardware devices, which consist of antenna, radio transmitter, and built-in network adapter.

Hotspots Explained

Hotspot is an area serviced by an access point which allows Wi-Fi clients to connect to a network. Hotspots are those areas where Wi-Fi is provided on demand. Since Wi-Fi has gained acceptance in many businesses, homes, etc, and nowdays most of the laptops and electronic devices are having inbuilt Wi-Fi access devices; Wi-Fi can act as an alternative to a wired LAN. Places like airports, star hotels, caf├ęs, etc, are the locations where Wi-Fi is available on demand. The places where Wi-Fi is available on demand or free are also known as hotspots.

Wi-Fi & Hotspots

The area covered by one or more interconnected Access Points is called a "Hotspot". The space range Hotspots can cover variants from as little as a single room with wireless-opaque walls or as much as many square miles covered by overlapping access points. Wi-Fi can also be used to create a mesh network. Wi-Fi allows connectivity in peer-to-peer mode, which enables devices to connect directly with each other. This connection mode is useful in consumer gaming and electronics applications.

Certification Issue

When Wi-Fi technology was first commercialized, there were many problems regarding the interaction between different Wi-Fi gadgets. Then a community called "Wi-Fi Alliance" began to solve this issue, also addressed the needs of the end user, and allowed the technology to mature. The Alliance's "Wi-Fi Certified" stamp on Wi-Fi enabled gadgets assures consumers that the stamped products are interoperable amongst each other. Wi-Fi also enables wireless voice applications (VoWLAN or WVOIP). "Wi-Fi Certified" products interact among each other although their manufacturers are different. A "Wi-Fi" certified product can use any brand of access point with any other point of client hardware which is also "Wi-Fi" certified. Any "Wi-Fi" product will work with any non "Wi-Fi" certified product, if the latter uses the same radio frequency as the former.

SSID & its Purpose

Expansion of SSID is Service Set IDentifier. It is a code that attaches to all packages on a wireless network; only to identify each packet as part of that network. The code consists of case-sensitive alphanumeric characters. Wireless devices that attempt to communicate with each other must share the same SSID. The process of connecting a device to a specific wireless network through the SSID is termed as "Association". Nowadays most of the laptops are equipped with "Connection Managers" to create wireless connection profiles and also to quickly switch between the same.

Important Components of Wi-Fi Network Device

There are two basic components of Wi-Fi network device. The Wi-Fi network device is a computer device outfitted with a radio-equipped gadget and low-power radio known as "Access Point", which is wired to the Internet or a local network. Both the radio-equipped gadget and low-power radio components communicate with each other over a free slice of the radio spectrum for user use but associated by cordless phones, microwave ovens, etc.

WiMax Explained

Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is the expansion of WiMax; also called by some as "Wi-Fi on stereoids". WiMax provides the last mile of high speed internet access to the end user. WiMax was designed to provide Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) Access to businesses and homes. WiMax deployments are similar to Wi-Fi network. The process is, first, the Internet Service Provider (ISP), who provides access to internet services, uses line-of-sight antennas (Bridges) to connect to towers that would distribute the non-line of sight signal to (MAN) business / residential clients. WiMax line-of-sight antennas operate at a higher frequency up to 66 MHz. There is no need to keep distribution antennas in the line-of-sight with their clients. Non – line of sight towers operate on a range similar to Wi-Fi. WiMax can operate right next to cell phone towers with no interference.