Wireless Fidelity, most commonly known as WiFi, is fast becoming the trend in computer wireless connection. The convenience and other advantages it brings are undoubtedly promising to make WiFi the international Internet connection.
You may have already connected through WiFi and you have most probably appreciated it. It may seem very simple to you, but the WiFi network's way of working is never as simple as the broadband connection. It is not that complicated for you to understand, though. So, how does a WiFi network really work?
- The server sends out WiFi signals, which are generally radio signals, to personal computers, laptops, phones or other WiFi-capable devices. But for this to be possible, the server should have a router connected to a DSL or Internet-capable device. Aside from the router, this wireless LAN should have a port where the router's cable can be connected to the DSL modem. The network also requires an Ethernet hub, firewall, and wireless access point. WiFi connection can be used for almost all computers, whether they be using Windows or other operating systems. Almost all WiFi servers allow access by any user; however, WiFi networks can have advanced security making them capable for private use only. This can be done via WiFi Protected Access, which is another network security protocol, and the Media Access Control, which uses hardware information to filter out stronger computers.
- The laptops, personal computers, mobile phones, or PDAs receive the WiFi signal through their built-in antenna. This built-in antenna is very important in finding any hot spots in the area because this is the only device that can translate the radio signals from the server. Meanwhile, other devices don't have any built-in antenna capable of receiving WiFi signals. Laptops can instead make use of a wireless adapter that can be easily plugged into the computer's USB port or PC card. Desktop computers will need an adapter that can plug to their PCI card slot inside. Also, some devices automatically perceive hot spots whether these are Windows run or not. Some devices need enabling from the user before they can start looking for WiFi signals.
- WiFi-capable devices can start enjoying the wireless Internet connection provided by the server. As long as the device is connected to WiFi, it can continue receiving signals, which it can use to access the Internet. With this, the user can do anything he can with a regular Internet connection. Web surfing, using Google, sending emails, chatting, online banking, and a lot more are allowed once the device is already WiFi-connected.
The speed of WiFi connection highly depends on what network standard it will use. It can be 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. The cheapest but slowest among these is the 802.11b.
Establishing a wireless LAN is also cheaper than setting up a wired network of computers, making this very popular in schools, cafes, hotels, and airports. WiFi connection can even establish Internet connection for an entire municipality. A newer wireless technology can give wider connection scope even on a municipal level. This is called WiMax, also known as the 802.16. This has the benefits of wireless as well as broadband Internet connections.