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Wi-Fi: Types, Workings, and Applications

Wi-Fi: Types, Workings, and Applications

Wi-Fi, also known as WLAN, has been in our mobile phones and laptops since our childhood. And now it has become a necessity for human beings. We can’t imagine a single day using Wi-Fi on our devices. If you are working in the software industry, then you know the importance of Wi-Fi and what will happen if this technology was never invented. 

Today we will talk about Wi-Fi in this article and its IEEE standards for Wi-Fi also.

Introduction

The Wi-Fi concept is very old, from around 1971 when an ALOHA system was used for wireless connection between Hawaii island via a network. Wi-Fi has evolved for decades in terms of speeds or features. At one time speed was not a concern of Wi-Fi; its objective was to share or exchange information, but in modern days it is all about internet speed and Wi-Fi is providing the best speed of more than 1Gb/s.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a very old concept of wireless networking technology which used to share the internet interface between your electronic devices like computers, laptops, printers, and mobile phones.

The first version of Wi-Fi is 802.1, and it was released in 1997 and supports a link speed of 2 Mb/s. Then many versions of Wi-Fi are released offering new features and high link speeds.

The recent version of Wi-Fi is 802.11ac released in 2014 which provides a whopping speed of 1733 Mb/s in the 5GHz band.

There are many 802.11 wireless standards, which we will talk about later in this article.

Wi-Fi is just a brand name for marketing purposes by a Wi-Fi Alliance, which refers to a communication medium for wireless networks which works as a local area network without the use of any cables or wire.

Wi-Fi works utilizing the physical link layer. It is also known as WLAN.

Features of Wi-Fi

  1. Wi-Fi technology does not require any set of cables and wires. You can share information on the internet wirelessly.
  2. Wi-Fi comes with a scalable and robust performance on which one relies because it’s smart enough to provide security to your computer or device.
  3. Wi-Fi Technology has great power for consumption as compared to other networks. You can get high-speed internet. It doesn’t have any range limitations.
  4. Wi-Fi connection setup is very easy and one can rely on the Wi-Fi technology as it protects your data with its tools.
  5. Wireless streaming of video or audio is very easy with Wi-Fi technology on any device.

Application of Wi-Fi

  1. Sharing of data between two devices wirelessly can be easily done by Wi-Fi on a very high data transfer rate.
  2. Wi-Fi is widely used in offices, schools, and colleges to interconnect computers and share internet and data without any cables or wires.
  3. Wi-Fi’s can also be used as a hotspot.
  4. The Internet can be accessed easily and wirelessly on any Wi-Fi enabled device.
  5. Wi-Fi is also used in the Automotive industry. A passenger can control music, lights, and windshield with help of Wi-Fi.

How does Wi-Fi work?

Electromagnetic waves are used in Wi-Fi technology to transfer networks. A router is necessary for the working of Wi-Fi properly.

This router device is capable of sending information and connecting devices to the internet. Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit signals. By the means of frequencies in a radio wave, two devices can be connected to share information. Mainly two types of frequencies are used in Wi-Fi, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz. 

Reading of data from electronic devices and routers is done in a binary form. There are three elements of a Wi-Fi signal, which are as follows,

  • Base Station: It is the main hub from which network connection is distributed to the routers.
  • Access point or Router: These are the devices that receive wired connections and convert them to the wireless network in the form of radio waves.
  • Accessing devices: Devices like, laptop, computers, mobile phones, etc can be used to access the internet connection wirelessly.

Types of Wi-Fi Standards

There are a total of seven wireless network standards now, which are as follows,

Wi-Fi-802.11a(Wi-Fi 1): This wireless network standard was introduced in 1999. It uses a frequency bandwidth of 5 GHz and provides a data transmission speed of 54 Mb/s.

Wi-Fi-802.11b(Wi-Fi 2): This wireless network standard was introduced in 1999. It uses a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz and provides a data transmission speed of 11 Mb/s.

Wi-Fi-802.11g(Wi-Fi 3): This wireless network standard was introduced in 2003. It uses a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz and provides a data transmission speed of 54 Mb/s. 

Wi-Fi-802.11n(Wi-Fi 4): This wireless network standard was introduced in 2009. It uses a frequency bandwidth of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It also provides a max high speed of 600 Mb/s. 

Wi-Fi- 802.11ac(Wi-Fi 5): This wireless network standard was introduced in 2013. It supports a frequency bandwidth of 5 GHz and provides a maximum speed of 1.3 Gb/s. 

Wi-Fi- 802.11ax(Wi-Fi 6): This wireless network standard was introduced in 2020 by Huawei. It supports a frequency bandwidth of both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and provides a maximum speed of 3 Gb/s. 

Wi-Fi- 802.11be(Wi-Fi 7): This wireless network standard is very recent and under development Wi-Fi by the IEEE team. This Wi-Fi can be termed as Wi-Fi 7.

Here are a few more terminologies

  • SSID: SSID (Service Set Identifier) is a 32-bit unique character name for every Wi-Fi network. It’s like an IP address, but for Wi-Fi only. We can differentiate in Wi-Fi using this SSID. In a context, SSID is a name for a wireless network.
  • WPA-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access- Pre-Shared Key): The Wi-Fi alliance developed a program to secure the wireless networks using pre-shared key authentication. Wi-Fi has three types of security, WPA, WPA2, and WPA3. By this, we can make our Wi-Fi signal security better from unwanted access.
  • Wi-Fi signals use Ad hoc networks, which allow communication between devices without using a Wi-Fi router.

How do our devices receive signals

Devices receive signals from the router wirelessly. Radio signals are transmitted from routers, which are received by the devices easily.

How do I fix a weak Wi-Fi signal

If you are receiving a slow and weak Wi-Fi signal, try to use a modem cable and then connect your device to the Wi-Fi and perform a speed test. Still, if the connection is slow then try to update your router and for a longer range you can buy a Wi-Fi extender also.

What if my Wi-Fi only works in certain places

Wi-Fi works only in Wi-Fi enabled devices, sometimes it’s also about version compatibility. If your Wi-Fi doesn’t work in certain places, try to change or revert the default configuration setting on Wi-Fi or the router. This may help you to connect with a router device.

Benefits of Wi-Fi

  1. Wi-Fi is very easy to set up; Just an SSID and password are required to start it.
  2. Wi-Fi can also provide hotspots.
  3. WPA encryptions are used in Wi-Fi, which makes it secure.
  4. Roaming is also supported easily in Wi-Fi.
  5. It has very flexible connectivity without any wired connections.
  6. It is expandable through Wi-Fi extenders.
  7. The cost of Wi-Fi is low compared to any other technology.

Limitations of Wi-Fi

  1. Power is consumed highly if we are using Wi-Fi on electronic devices like Mobile phones, Laptops, or Computers.
  2. Wi-Fi routers are power dependent which means it works through a power source, if there is a power cut then the connectivity is gone.
  3. Wi-Fi doesn’t have a firewall, which can make it prone to attackers.
  4. Internet speed can be low compared to direct cable connections.
  5. Wi-Fi can be easily hacked though it has encryption, but successful attempts of Wi-Fi hacking are seen.
  6. Climatic conditions are also affected by the use of Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

I hope now you know about Wi-Fi and its types from reading this article. Wi-Fi has captured and contributed to the world’s development in its way. Wi-Fi is used daily in day-to-day life by almost everyone. Wi-Fi is getting more advanced and has greater internet connectivity, and they will help us in our future building also.

FAQs

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that offers information sharing and internet connectivity between devices. Wi-Fi is a series of wireless network protocols based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards that are commonly used for device local area networking.

Where did the term Wi-Fi come from?

Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, its name given for marketing purposes by Wi-Fi Alliance. The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, a worldwide non-profit group established to advance the new wireless standard, is credited with coining the term Wi-Fi.

What is the difference between the internet and Wi-Fi?

The Internet is a network, whereas Wi-Fi is a facility that provides the network. Wi-Fi is an online technology that is used to connect nearby devices. The Internet works on internet protocol, which joins computers on a network globally.

The Internet is a worldwide network, and Wi-Fi is a connection to the internet.

Why do we need Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is needed to cut off the wired services of cables and wires. One can easily use or share data without any hassle using Wi-Fi. Access to the Internet via devices such as smartphones and tablets to download books, music, movies, and apps, as well as access the online.

Does Wi-Fi mean the internet?

No, Wi-Fi and the internet are two different things. Wifi connects and communicates between nearby devices whereas the internet is a worldwide network connecting many computers on its protocol to communicate or share data.

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