A user understands the products they use, which sets them apart from consumers. Anybody who reads these words can identify as a Wi-Fi user and a wireless Internet user. If they understand how the network functions. For those who do not fall into this category, we recommend reading the information below, which explains the fundamentals of how wireless communication networks (Wi-Fi) operate as well as some of its features, benefits, and drawbacks.
We won’t travel more than fifty years; instead, we’ll avoid all the innovations and prototypes. “Father” Wi-Fi is regarded as an engineer at the John O’Sullivan Astronomical Laboratory in Australia. In 1997–1998 he led the creation of what is used nearly everywhere in the world. The first IEEE 802.11a standard, which is still widely used today, was registered two years later.
IEEE 802.11b was developed quickly in response to the high level of wave interference, but it did not address the primary issue. The waves overlapped and were equally dispersed. Nevertheless, this was fixed by creating channels within the operating frequency range.
The IEEE 802.22 standard, which allows data transmission over straight-line distances of up to 100 kilometers, was finally released after ten years of development. There are currently 18 IEEE 802.11 standards available, each with a different operating frequency and bandwidth as of 2019.
How it operates?
As seen on https://wirelessdevnet.com/ Wi-Fi or wireless local area network, is a technology for wireless data transmission (WLAN). The idea behind Wi-Fi is the transmission of encrypted signals over short (tens of meters) distances using microwave waves, or ultra-high frequency waves. At least two components make up the network scheme: a client and an access point.
Ten times a second, at a speed of 100 Kbps, the access point broadcasts an identifier (SSID, network name) via special data packets. In theory, this is the wireless channel’s lowest bandwidth.
How do wireless networks operate? The client device determines whether it can connect to the coverage area after entering it and detecting a signal (technological differences can be a hindrance). If the transmitter fails to transmit its identifier, clients won’t be able to see the network. If it’s protected, the only way to connect to it is by entering the password and SSID.
The receiver device connects to the network with a stronger signal if there are two or more networks in the same area with identical SSIDs.
In most home Wi-Fi networks, the access point is a wireless router. Clients and it must operate in the same mode (signal modulation, frequency). Let’s use Internet distribution in a private home as an example.
Through the network cable, the router receives traffic, transforms it into radio waves, and sends the radio waves “through the air” in the form of ultra-high frequency radio signals that meet predetermined criteria. The information contained in these waves, which is encoded by the carrier frequency, is extracted and decoded by the receiver after it “catches” these waves.
The relevant standards provide descriptions of the data “packaging” algorithms, which vary depending on the version. The same method is used for digital data transmission. Without getting too technical, the workings of mobile communication and Wi-Fi technology share a similar principle.
2019 saw the release of 802.11ax, the 18th specification of the sixth generation of Wi-Fi. It can operate at up to 11 Gbps of maximum throughput on frequencies in the 5 GHz band. Their differences include speed, protection level, signal processing method, and introduction of novel features.
Different types of entry points
There are three types of access points that come together to form a single wireless network: autonomous, independent, controlled or centralized, and uncontrolled.
Access points are divided into three categories based on how radio channels are controlled: static (channels); adaptive or dynamic; automatic selection of the best, most available channel from the range; and multilayer.
Access points are categorized into two groups based on the type of protection used: public or open, which is unprotected and allows any client to connect to the Internet at the same time, usually a limited number of clients; and closed or private, which requires a password to access the network because the signal is encrypted.
This is the way that Wi-Fi functions for the typical user. The pros and cons of the technology still need to be ascertained.
Pros and cons
Advantages of the Wi-Fi technology
- No need for cables, which lowers the cost and speed of network construction
- The network can include a variety of devices, including laptops, computers, smartphones, and other mobile gadgets on different platforms
- Ease of network configuration
- Massive user access to the Internet in public locations, such as subways, construction sites, and beaches
- Radiation intensity is orders of magnitude lower than that of cell phones
- No certificate is required to use the frequency.
Wireless Wi-Fi networks’ drawbacks
- The signal is extremely sensitive to obstructions
- Two transmitters operating within range of one another, especially on the same frequency, can cause interference;
- Access point devices operate in series when receiving information
- It is difficult to control each client’s bandwidth
- The network runs at the speed of the slowest client
- It has been established that microwave radiation is harmful to living things
- Various frequency bands across nations
- Mandatory registration is required in many countries for devices with radiation powers greater than 100 mW
- All cryptographic algorithms are easily cracked, with the exception of WPA3, which is not yet widely available
- Network protection is at the level of the weakest client device
- Low security of public access points
- No clear zone of signal propagation
- Wave interference increases as the frequency bandwidth of the channel expands
- As the number of clients increases, the overhead (delay before the operation is executed) of the router’s response to the client’s request increases.
These days, practically every home has a Wi-Fi router, and the wireless module is even plugged into appliances like refrigerators, kettles, and vacuum cleaners. Additionally, the use of wireless technology is growing yearly.