HOW WI-FI NETWORKS WORKS



Joonas Riina

When Wi-Fi slows down, so does our entire life. Our email and browsers stop loading. Our streaming movies freeze. Alexa stops responding. Our phones revert to data plans. Everything buffers at the same time, ruining the momentum of your routine.  There are plenty of reasons your Wi-Fi keeps slowing down: signal congestion, router location, firmware issues, hardware limitations or even the physical size of your home. What are some ways you can all think of that will boost our home Wi-Fi and reduce the risk of connection failures?

Jessica Clemensen

Here are the WiFi network security protocols ranked, ordered from most secure to least secure:

  1. WPA2 + AES
  2. WPA + AES
  3. WPA + TKIP/AES (TKIP as fallback method)
  4. WPA + TKIP
  5. WEP
  6. Open Network
Danika Nedbalek

WiFi networks are really secure as long as the users are not acting careless. With the recent data breach at Facebook and Cambridge Analytics, we should start to consider taking data privacy serious as long as it is under our control. WiFi has developed and improved over time and comes with an industry standard security package which the consumer can rely on with their eyes closed.

jose bengoetxea

In response to Fabricio Ruiz

I have heard that there are multiple standards of the WiFi protocol (802.11).  Does anyone know what the latest one is and how fast it is?

Fabricio,

I believe they answered your question but I just one to add something.  The 2.4GHz frequency covers over greater distances than 5GHz but at a slower speed. The simple rule is that the further your data signal can travel, the lower the frequency of the wireless signal. High frequency (5GHz > 2.4GHz) cannot penetrate walls and floors as well as lower frequency resulting in a lower range.

Shila Vasuda Gupta

WiFi Originated in Hawaii in 1979.  The early predecessor of WiFi was launched in Hawaii in 1979. The ALOHAnet was a computer networking system that allowed the first public demonstration of a wireless packet data network. Just like any other product launch, the timing is very important nevertheless how advanced the technology may be. It took 20 years before AT&T Corporation and NCR Corporation developed WaveLAN, which is now being considered the true predecessor of WiFi unlike the ALOHAnet. Following after, the IEEE 802.11 wireless protocol has been released.

Terez Fabian

In the US the FCC is on track to likely release 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi use already next year. But what about in Europe? What is being studied and what can we expect?

future hacker

In response to future hacker

Please, allow me to present the technical side of it.  

A wireless network will transmit at a frequency level of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz to adapt to the amount of data that is being sent by the user. The 802.11 networking standards will somewhat vary depending mostly on the user's needs. 

  • The 802.11a will transmit data at a frequency level of 5GHz. The Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) used enhances reception by dividing the radio signals into smaller signals before reaching the router. You can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second. 
  • The 802.11b will transmit data at a frequency level of 2.4GHz, which is a relatively slow speed. You can transmit a maximum of 11 megabits of data per second. 
  • The 802.11g will transmit data at 2.4GHz but can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second as it also uses an OFDM coding. 
  • The more advanced 802.11n can transmit a maximum of 140 megabits of data per second and uses a frequency level of 5GHz. 

The newest WiFi version is 802.11ax.  802.11ax's key technology is something called orthogonal frequency-division multiple access, or OFDMA. This is a transmission technique that, in essence, allows multiple devices to share not only the same access point, but the same Wi-Fi channel at the same time. Previous-generation Wi-Fi can’t do that, so OFDMA means that 802.11ax has a substantial leg up on current technology, particularly in terms of large numbers of devices sharing the same access point.

Анета Владимирова

Wireless technology has widely spread lately and you can get connected almost anywhere; at home, at work, in libraries, schools, airports, hotels and even in some restaurants.  Wireless networking is known as WiFi or 802.11 networking as it covers the IEEE 802.11 technologies. The major advantage of WiFi is that it is compatible with almost every operating system, game device, and advanced printer.

future hacker

Please, allow me to present the technical side of it.  

A wireless network will transmit at a frequency level of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz to adapt to the amount of data that is being sent by the user. The 802.11 networking standards will somewhat vary depending mostly on the user's needs. 

  • The 802.11a will transmit data at a frequency level of 5GHz. The Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) used enhances reception by dividing the radio signals into smaller signals before reaching the router. You can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second. 
  • The 802.11b will transmit data at a frequency level of 2.4GHz, which is a relatively slow speed. You can transmit a maximum of 11 megabits of data per second. 
  • The 802.11g will transmit data at 2.4GHz but can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second as it also uses an OFDM coding. 
  • The more advanced 802.11n can transmit a maximum of 140 megabits of data per second and uses a frequency level of 5GHz. 
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helga Breitner

In response to Vincent Fournier

Thanks for the explanation, but I still think that the Wifi could be connected one to the other, and you should be able to switch between the various WiFi network, as mobile phones does with cells.

Why is that not possible ?

V.

Come to think of it, switching from one WiFi network to another, much like the way cell phones switch from one tower to the next, is possible--you just need to have the WiFi capability of your device turned on and you need to be authorized to access the service.  Comcast was the first company that did this in the US.  Its customers' WiFi routers were essentially the 'cell towers' providing the service.

Vincent Fournier

In response to Анета Владимирова

Vincent,


I am not certain you understand how WiFi works.  A wireless network uses radio waves, just like cell phones, televisions and radios do. In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies, cell phones and other devices. They can transmit and receive radio waves, and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s.  That is the main reason WiFi cannot be one unique gigantic network.

Thanks for the explanation, but I still think that the Wifi could be connected one to the other, and you should be able to switch between the various WiFi network, as mobile phones does with cells.

Why is that not possible ?

V.

Fabricio Ruiz

I have heard that there are multiple standards of the WiFi protocol (802.11).  Does anyone know what the latest one is and how fast it is?

Professor Dodds

A single WiFi router can accommodate multiple connections.  As long as they all have wireless adapters, several devices can use one router to connect to the Internet. This connection is convenient, virtually invisible and fairly reliable; however, if the router fails or if too many people try to use high-bandwidth applications at the same time, users can experience interference or lose their connections.

Анета Владимирова

Vincent,


I am not certain you understand how WiFi works.  A wireless network uses radio waves, just like cell phones, televisions and radios do. In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies, cell phones and other devices. They can transmit and receive radio waves, and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s.  That is the main reason WiFi cannot be one unique gigantic network.

Vincent Fournier

Since Wifi is available almost everywhere in town, why it is not a unique gigantic network ?

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