Feb 16 2014
WiFi Technology Overview
The WiFi technology is based on the RF radio frequency signals that enable fast data transfers for indoor range up to 70 meters and outdoor range up to 250m. The speeds, range, coverage, and other characteristics depend on the type of the WiFi signals.
WiFi networks are professionally called WLAN networks. WLAN – Wireless Local Area Networks are local networks based on the wireless technology. More about WiFi and WLAN read in the article What does WiFi stand for.
The main element in the wireless internet technology is a wireless access point, or in most cases a wireless router, and wireless stations, usually called the wireless clients.
Access point is connected to the wired network, this wired connection to the internet and other access points – this part of the connectivity is called professionally the distribution system. Access point has also wireless connectivity to the wireless clients, this system is professionally called a wireless medium. More about the elements of WiFi networks you can read in WLAN formation.
The Five Generations of the WiFi Technology
WiFi technology has five generations. Each generation is defined by the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. These standards define various aspects of each generation.
- Frequency channels
- The number of channels
- The bandwidth of channels
- Modulation techniques – the way radio frequency signals are formed to enable data transfer.
As a result of this, every generation of the WiFi (WLAN standard) has its own characteristics:
- Speed of wireless data transfer
- The range of wireless signals
- The ability of the signals to handle the physical obstacles.
The five generations of WiFi technology are:
- 1st generation: 802.11a – usually called a.
- 2nd generation: 802.11b – usually called b.
- 3rd generation: 802.11g – usually called g.
- 4th generation: 802.11n – usually called n.
- 5th generation: 802.11ac – usually called ac.
Check more are about all the generations in my post What does WLAN stand for.
As I already mentioned in this article, the most important WiFi element is the access point. They connect wireless networks to the wired networks.
Broadband wireless routers have many built-in devices.
- access point
- broadband modem.
More about the wireless routers you can read in the post Broadband wireless router.
There are many kinds of wireless routers. I have already written about two manufacturers: Belkin and Linksys. Belkin has bought in 2013 the Linksys from the Cisco.
WLAN – Extend – Extension of the Wireless Network
There are different kinds of wireless routers. They can work on different standard (different WiFi generation). The most time they are used as a standalone wireless router.
In some cases it could be the problem with insufficient range and coverage and low speed in some part of your home. So you need to extend your wireless network. This can be done in seven ways.
- WiFi antenna
- wireless signal booster
- wireless repeater
- increase of AP power
- better position of the wireless router – wireless site survey
- secondary AP
- using the latest WLAN standard – 802.11ac.
More about ways to extend the wireless coverage you can read in WLAN extend.
Wireless Internet Card or adapter connects devices to the wireless network. WiFi technology has become extremely popular. Beside desktop computers, laptops and smartphones there are lots of other devices that have WiFi connectivity: game consoles, credit card terminals, wireless printers, internet cameras, WiFi internet radio, tablets, TVs, audio and video players…
More about the WiFi technology you could read in the interesting article How Does Wi-Fi Work.