What is WiFi and How Does it Work?
Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming the preferred mode of internet connection all over the world. To
access this type of connection, one must have a wireless adapter on their computer. Wi-Fi provides
wireless connectivity by emitting frequencies between 2.4GHz to 5GHz based on the amount of data
on the network. Areas which are enabled with Wi-Fi connectivity are known as Hot Spots. One can
use advanced softwares like Wirelessmon to detect and request connection to Hotspots. To start a
Wireless connection, it is important that the wireless router is plugged into the internet connection
and that all the required settings are properly installed.
Wireless technology has widely spread lately and you can get connected almost anywhere; at home,
at work, in libraries, schools, airports, hotels and even in some restaurants.
Wireless networking is known as Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) or 802.11 networking as it covers the IEEE
802.11 technologies. The major advantage of Wi-Fi is that it is compatible with almost every
operating system, game device and advanced printer.
How does Wi-Fi work?
Like mobile phones, a Wi-Fi network makes use of radio waves to transmit information across a
network. The computer should include a wireless adapter that will translate data sent into a radio
signal. This same signal will be transmitted, via an antenna, to a decoder known as the router. Once
decoded, the data will be sent to the Internet through a wired Ethernet connection. As the wireless
network will work as a two-way traffic, the data received from the Internet will also pass through the
router to be coded into a radio signal that will be receipted by the computer’s wireless adapter.
A wireless network will transmit at a frequency level of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz to adapt to the amount of
data that is being sent by the user. The 802.11 networking standards will somewhat vary depending
mostly on the user’s needs, as explained below:
1. The 802.11a will transmit data at a frequency level of 5GHz. The Orthogonal Frequency-Division
Multiplexing (OFDM) used enhances reception by dividing the radio signals into smaller signals
before reaching the router. You can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second.
2. The 802.11b will transmit data at a frequency level of 2.4GHz, which is a relatively slow speed. You
can transmit a maximum of 11 megabits of data per second.
3. The 802.11g will transmit data at 2.4GHz but can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per
second as it also uses an OFDM coding.
4. The more advanced 802.11n can transmit a maximum of 140 megabits of data per second and
uses a frequency level of 5GHz.
What is a Hotspot?
The term Hotspot is used to define an area where Wi-Fi access is available. It can either be through a
closed wireless network at home or in public places like restaurants or airports.
As stated earlier, to be able to access Hotspots your computer should include a wireless adapter. If
you are using an advanced laptop model, it will probably include a built-in wireless transmitter
already. Otherwise you can purchase a wireless adapter that will plug into the PCI slot or USB port.
Once installed, your system will automatically detect the Wi-Fi hotspots and request connection. If
not, you should use a software to handle this task for you.
Need assistance or advice with setting up your wi-fi network? Drop us an email via our contact page.