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WHAT IS WiFi : everything you need to know about wireless broadband

 Wifi map

In this post, which is the very first of our blog, we will mainly present Wifi. To do this, we will therefore answer the questions in the best way possible;

  1. What is WiFi ?
  2. What is the use of WiFi ?
  3. How does WiFi work ?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of WiFi ?
  5. How to establish a Wi-Fi connection
  6. What is a Hotspot ?
  7. How does a Hotspot work ?
  8. How to secure a WiFi network ?
  9. Wifi: standardized frequencies

The objective here is to have a better control on the functioning of wifi networks and the tools necessary for the configuration of a wifi.


What is WiFi ? 

WiFi is the abbreviation for Wireless Fidelity and is simply a wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that transmits information by radio waves (electromagnetic) between the devices that carry this technology.

What is the use of WiFi ?

Indeed, WiFi is a very practical tool since it allows Internet users to connect easily to the wireless Internet. With a WiFi network, you can connect to the Internet from anywhere if you have the necessary equipment.

WiFi also avoids the aesthetic and practical disadvantages of all wired Internet connections. This way, you no longer have to stay near your modem or box and you can also connect to the Internet at any home vulture room without having wires lying around from one room to another.

This technology makes it much easier to create local networks between several computers connected by wifi to a single modem router. WiFi is therefore the ideal LAN solution to share the connection provided by your Internet provider between several computers and other accessories equipped with wifi.

How does WiFi work?

Just like your smartphone, a wifi network needs radio waves to transmit information through a network. To do this, a WiFi network requires a central terminal (modem or box) responsible for transmitting electrical waves; it translates the data to be sent into a radio signal. 
As the wireless network is a two-way traffic network, the data received from the Internet also passes through a wifi adapter on the receiving devices (mobile phone, tablet, computer, printer).

So to run a wifi network, the two essential elements are:

  • A wifi modem that is connected to your telephone jack. 
  • Then a wifi adapter that will communicate the equipment and the modem.

For a desktop computer this adapter can take different forms such as: a USB key, a network card, or a PCI – PCMIA expansion card, .
  

What are the advantages and disadvantages of WiFi?

Advantages of WiFi:

  • Mobility: The wireless network connection allows you to move freely within the available radius without having to plug and unplug anything.
  • Ease of installation and flexibility of use: A well configured WiFi network allows you to connect very easily, provided you have an authorization. Usually, it is sufficient to be in the coverage area to be connected.
  • Does not require a large investment: The wifi network uses very few elements compared to wired networks.
  • Scalability: The ease with which the network can be extended or restricted ensures that WiFi coverage always corresponds to real needs.
  • Ideal for temporary installations: with wifi, everything is wireless, and therefore very easy to pack up.


Disadvantages of WiFi:

  • Insufficient security: As WiFi is a wireless network, it is possible to access it without any hardware intervention. Hence the need to focus on network security if we want to avoid the presence of undesirables or the theft of personal data.
  • Rapid drop in data rates: although a well configured wifi network is very stable, it takes very little to disturb the signal (Bluetooth transmitter, for example).
  • Reduced range: the range of wifi networks does not generally extend to more than 100m.
  • Potential health problems (not proven)


What is a Hotspot? 

The term Hotspot is used to refer to a place where a wifi connection is available, usually free of charge. This type of Internet access point is located in clearly defined areas, such as a closed wireless network at home or in public places of high traffic such as stations, airports, restaurants, hospitals…

 How to establish a wifi connexion?

To access a Hotspot, your computer must have a wireless adapter. With the technological advance, most of the equipment has a wireless transmitter (wifi adapter) included by the manufacturer. 
Once started, your system automatically detects the hotspots and requests a wifi connection.

Wifi: standardized frequencies

For wifi networks, a standard is a rule established according to the distance and speed of the wifi network. The standards in the table below propose operating modes, allowing different flow rates to be obtained depending on the range and are called “physical standards”. They correspond to revisions of the 802.117 standard.


Standard

Frequency Band

Flow rate

Scope
WiFi a (802.11a)
5 GHz6
54 Mbit/s
10m
WiFi B (802.11b)
2,4GHz
11 Mbit/s
100m
WiFi G (802.11g)
2,4GHz
54 Mbit/s
100m

How to secure a WiFi network?

Securing your Wifi network is indeed the essential step to prevent unhealthy users from accessing your wireless network.

In the structure of your network, the router or modem is like a doorway to enter the network and therefore the Internet through your network.
With regard to wifi; the network is said to be open if there is no security system everyone can connect (door open).
The network is said to be secure if there is at least one security system. Thus, only those with the key will be able to connect (door closed).

You have below the essential points to secure your wifi network.
  1. Encrypt your Wi-Fi network
  2. Change the default password of the box
  3. Update your box
  4. Do MAC filtering
  5. Change the network name

As for wifi security protocols; There are two main types of protocols:
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is a method of encrypting wifi that takes the form of a secret key encoded in 64 or 128 bits.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) which is another wifi security protocol that offers better security than WEP.  It uses dynamic TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) keys to individually authenticate each device connected to the wifi network.

To know a little more I advise you to read this post which says more about Wifi Dual Band.

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4 Comments

  1. I just learned a lot more about Wifi! I am confused about Wifi standardized frequencies. On my router I have 2 frequencies set up and I do not know when connecting to the router if I should choose the 5ghz or the 2.5ghz. Is there a a recommendation or certain criteria you should consider? Should I not have both one router? It is confusing 🙁 Thank you for your help!

  2. Very happy that you found this small introduction about wifi useful.

    the values 2.4 gHz and 5 gHz refer to the 2 "bands" used by your wifi modem to transmit the signal. The clear difference between the two is their speed.

    Under ideal conditions, WiFi 2.4 gHz oscillates between 450 mBps and 600 mBps depending on the router class. WiFi 5 gHz goes further and is capable of reaching 1300 mBps.

    All recent wifi routers use dual- or tri-band technology. Thus, a Dual Band router will use both the 2.4 gHz and 5 gHz bands to broadcast its network, offering you two networks to get the most out of both bands (range with 2.4 gHz and speed with 5 gHz).

    This pandant, two types of Dual-band wifi routers exist;

    Dual-band simultaneous wifi routers that broadcast two simultaneous WiFi networks (2.4 gHz and one 5 gHz) allowing you to make the choice from the mobile device to be connected.
    Selectable Dual-band wifi routers that offer a 2.4 gHz network and a 5 gHz network, of which you can only use one at a time by switching using a button on the wifi router box.

    If your wifi router is a selectable Dual-band wifi router, to get the most out of it, you simply need to select the maximum frequency which is 5Ghz in this case.

    Once again thank you! I think I will make it the subject of my next post.

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