What is Wi-Fi and How Does It Work?
Wireless networks are computer networks that are not connected by using cables. In simple words, when two or more devices are connected without any networking cable called wireless networking or wireless network. From smartphones to a simple home wireless internet connection., Bluetooth, and more, everything comes under wireless networking.
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)
Wireless Fidelity or Wi-Fi technology is a technology that sends radio waves to offer network connectivity by using a wireless network adaptor. A Wi-Fi Connection can be established by using a wireless adapter that creates hotspots. The hotspot is an area in the vicinity of a wireless router or wireless network card which is again connected to the network and permits users to access internet connectivity. This technology is based on the 802.11 IEEE or wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac network standards. The Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) offers the highest data speed which of 11 Mbps. In case of interference, data speed drops to halves.
Frequency or Wi-Fi Bands
The wireless fidelity network with 802.11b IEEE standard can be transfer data at a speed of 2.4 Gigahertz and data transfer speed goes up to 5 Gigahertz with 802.11b IEEE standard.
|IEEE 802.11 Variant||FREQUENCY BAND USED|
|802.11n||2.4 and 5 GHz|
|802.11ac||Below 6 GHz|
|802.11ad||Up to 60 GHz|
|802.11af||TV White Space (Below 1 GHz)|
|802.11ah||700 MHz, 860 MHz, 902 MHz, etc. ISM Bands are dependent upon the country & allocations.|
The range of Wi-Fi networks largely depends on the number and type of wireless access points along with the wireless routers or USB wireless adapters that were used to establish the connection. The wireless network utilizing 802.11b IEEE standard offers indoor coverage of approximately 400 feet while 802.11a offers indoor coverage of just 60 feet. For more coverage, the Wi-Fi connection needs more access points and routers.
Security Encryption Standards or Wireless Network Security
WEP: WEP means Wired Equivalent Privacy. It is a security protocol for using wireless networks which encodes transmitted data. Whenever, WEP was an early attempt to secure wireless networks, and better security is now available such as VPN, and WPA.
WPA: WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access, a Wi-Fi standard that was designed to improve upon the security features of WEP. The technology is assigned to work with existing Wi-Fi products that have been enabled with WEP that is a software upgrade to existing hardware.
Types of Wireless Network or Wi-Fi
What are WPA and WPA2
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 are two of the wireless security measures that can be used to protect wireless networks. WPA uses TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) while WPA2 is capable of using TKIP or the more advanced AES algorithm.
Wireless Network Connection or Wi-Fi provided people with a quick and hassle-free method of connecting to a network without the need for wires. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, this is true even with wireless networking. The price of not needing wires is the possibility of unauthorized people using the network and accessing data and resources. This is not a problem with wired networks as they
would need to physically intrude in your premises to connect to the LAN. WPA was created to replace WEP in securing wireless networks when it was found out that serious flaws made it very easy to gain access. Despite being much harder to crack, it was still possible with the use of more advanced tools.
WPA2 addresses this problem with the introduction of the AES algorithm. Theoretically, passphrases created with the AES algorithm are virtually uncrackable. Most people and businesses who have wireless networks should find WPA2 to be more than adequate for their security needs.
The only disadvantage of WPA2 is the amount of processing power that it needs in order to protect your network. This translates to a direct need for more powerful hardware or suffers a reduction in network performance for heavily used networks. This is an issue with older access points that were designed and built prior to WPA2 and only implemented WPA2 via a firmware upgrade. Most of the more recent access points have been equipped with more capable hardware to minimize speed degradation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)
Advantages of Wi-Fi
- It offers higher data speed as much as 11Mbps
- It allows users to access network resources from nearly any convenient location within their primary networking environment.
- Users can even access the network outside their normal work environment. For example, most coffee shops offer free wireless internet connection to their customers.
- Wi-Fi connectivity is available for long ranges. It offers outdoor coverage of up to 1000 feet and indoor coverage of up to 400 feet.
- It is compatible with the original 802.11 IEEE standard.
- When connected to a wireless network, users can maintain a fairly constant affiliation with their networks even moving from one place to another.
Disadvantages of Wi-Fi
- The speed of data often fluctuates in the case of wireless fidelity. In such cases, data call quality is greatly hampered.
- It has a limited radius of action thus it is quite suitable for home networking but fails to offer coverage for larger areas.
- Wireless networks typically utilize some forms of encryption technology and some of the commonly used encryption methods are vulnerable and easy to hack. This causes a serious security threat.
- Being a radio frequency transmission, Wi-Fi is also subject to a wide range of interference and complex propagation effects which are beyond the control of the administrator.
- The speed of the most wireless networks is much slower than the wired networks.