HOW WI-FI WORKS
Ever since networking came into existence, it has undergone numerous improvements to cater to people’s needs in a better, faster way. Of the many improvements and upgrades, Wi-Fi is perhaps the most important. Today, you can connect your laptop, phone, even your PSP, to a network and transfer files, play games, browse the Internet, and so on. Devices which support Wi-Fi connect to wireless access points, referred to as hotspots, and uses radio waves to exchange data. If you have ever wondered how Wi-Fi or wireless internet works, continue reading below:
• At the very basic level, the wireless adapter in your device receives the data packets to be transferred, translates it into a radio signal and then transmits it through an antenna. The signal is received by a router, which then decodes the signal and sends the information using a wired connection (like Ethernet) to the Internet. The same process is reversed if the information is received from the Internet and then submitted to the device. This is a simple representation of how Wi-Fi works.
• Although it may seem that the Wi-Fi radio transmitter is similar to your normal walkie-talkie radio, it is not. A device, in order to transmit the data packets, has to be equipped with a wireless network interface controller. This combination is called a station and all the stations, in order to exchange the information, need to share the same frequency channel.
The transmission occurs at high frequencies of 2.4 or 5 GHz. The reason for the higher frequency (as compared to the frequency channels used by cell phones or walkie-talkie) is to allow more data to be transferred.
• So that wireless internet works flawlessly and is compatible across all devices and countries, the devices use the IEEE 802.11 network standards. The different 802.11 wireless standards are:
o 802.11: The original specification which used the 2.4 GHz band and could achieve transmission rates of up to 1-2 Mbps using frequency hopping.
o 802.11a: this standard uses the 5 GHz channel and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing Technique (OFDM) to achieve higher transmission rates of about 54 Mbps.
o 802.11b: this is currently the most popular standard. Although it uses the 2.4 GHz band and achieves rates of about 11 Mbps, but it has the distinct advantage of declining to lower rates if the connectivity becomes poor.
o 802.11a: simply an upgrade to the 802.11a standard, it achieves the same rate, but uses the 2.4 GHz frequency channel. Because of the lower frequency used, the wireless internet works at a noticeably reduced cost and better compatibility across devices.
o 802.11n: this is the fastest standard. It uses multiple streams and double the bandwidth to achieve higher transmission rates of around 140 Mbps.
The Innovation of WiFi in Airports is Remarkable
Being able to connect to the Internet anywhere in the world wirelessly is what the future is. It has certainly improved the productivity and enjoyment of traveling since most airports across the world have been WiFi updated, many of them offering free Internet access. Moreover, with the increasing popularity of WLANs and technology such as Wi-Max, you won’t have to wait for long.
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