What is Wi-Fi? – Definition and Types

Wi-Fi: Meaning

Wi-Fi is a wireless method of network transmission, which employs radio waves to connect devices with the required feature to the internet. It is the wireless sort of ethernet connectivity. Today, it is not common for appliances to not have Wi-Fi connectivity.

Appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaners are joining the list of gadgets that, already, have enabled wireless connectivity, like televisions, mobile phones, laptops, and more. It is one of those technologies, which are getting perfected this century.

Washing Machine with Wi fi enabled

What does Wi-Fi mean?

The term Wi-fi expands into Wireless Fidelity. But it doesn’t mean it. It was inspired by the phrase, High Fidelity. Wi-fi is a technology that helps connect electronic devices to the internet. It is, technically, known as Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

The diagrammatic working of a Wi-Fi WLAN connection

How does Wi-Fi work?

This technology uses radio transmitted waves to carry information through the air. These waves have a frequency bandwidth of, usually, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.  When you try to access information over the internet when you are connected to wi-fi, the wi-fi router gets the data through the broadband connection and changes it into radio waves. The devices which are connected to that wireless connection receive the radio waves and interpret them.

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Wi-Fi  is not Wireless Fidelity

The technical term, Wi-fi, may expand into Wireless Fidelity. But it doesn’t exactly mean it. It was inspired by High Fidelity, which means the creation of a copy of something which is an exact imitation or an imitation with not much difference from the original.

Wireless Access Point

A Wireless Access Point is an intermediate that allows devices to connect to the internet, wirelessly. An Access Point expands the networks from routers so that many mobile devices can connect to it, even from a considerable distance. It can also tell you about the devices connected to it and also prevent the entry of unwanted users.

Wi-Fi, an IEEE Standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is an organization, which sets standards for electronic devices and other energy-related industries. As per the IEEE, the Wi-fi technology is based on IEEE 802.11 standards. This IEEE 802.11 standard is for technologies using the wireless local area network.

Important Wi-Fi Terminology

For a detailed understanding of the functioning of Wi-fi,  there is some terminology that is essential for the complete understanding of the topic. Knowledge of the topic can help you choose the right wireless router and the correct internet service provider for your home or office.

Wi-Fi Radio Spectrum

The higher the frequency of your wireless, the shorter the range on the connectivity. A network with a 5 GHz frequency has a range, which is only half as long as that of 2.4 GHz. The frequency can not penetrate thick walls. It also cannot handle much network traffic.  The 5 GHz network is recommended for regions with a high population or in areas with many wireless connectivity options.

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802.11 Network Standards

The routers are based on the 802.11 standards. The latest wireless routers use the IEEE 802.11 ac standard for wireless network transmission. These routers are capable of sharing internet from 600 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second. Older routers use the 802.11 n standard, which can provide internet as fast as 600 Mbps, and the 802.11 g, which can give up to 54 Mbps fast internet.

Aruba Wi-fi Router

Wi-Fi security protocol

Certain security protocols prevent harm to the user device from illegal access and wireless networks. The highest and most secure protocol, at present, is the Wi-fi Protected Access II (WPA 2). This is expected to be overtaken by WPA3, which is believed to be under development.

It is advisable to use a VPN service when you are connecting to Wi-Fi from a public network. This will help you to secure your connection and prevent you from security-related issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better? Broadband or Wi-fi?

Wired broadband is connected to a device’s motherboard with an ethernet cable, meaning only one device is connected to the internet. With a wi-fi connection, you can connect a lot of devices at the same time. Broadband is much secure than Wi-fi. A broadband connection is wired while Wi-fi isn’t. Wi-fi may or may not be faster than broadband depending on the service provider, the material of the data cable, and the location of the connection. If a fast network is your priority, you’ll find broadband better, depending on the factors mentioned above. If you’re looking to provide a network for a number of devices, wireless networking is for you. You can also ask your provider for high-speed wi-fi.

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Why is my Wi-fi slow?

There are many reasons why you could be having a slow network from your connected wi-fi. You could be some distance away from the wireless router. This technology works only up to a range. Or the waves from your microwave oven, Bluetooth device, or the infrared rays from your television or any other remote can interfere with the wireless networks. This also could be a question for your service provider.

Can I use a Wi-fi extender?

You can use a Wi-fi extender if you wish to extend the range of your wi-fi extender. If you live in a large house and do not receive a strong signal throughout the place, you can opt for a wi-fi extender or a wi-fi booster.

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