|| What Is WiFi | How WiFi Work | WiFi Full Form | What is 802.11 | WiFi Full Information ||
What is the Full form of WIFI?The full form of WIFI is “Wireless Fidelity.
What is WiFi?
WiFi works off of the same principal as other wireless devices—it uses radio frequencies to send signals between devices. The radio frequencies are completely different say from walky talkies, car radios, cell phones, and weather radios. For example your car stereo receives frequencies in Kilohertz and Megahertz range (AM and FM stations), and WiFi transmits and receives data in the Gigahertz range.
To break it down even further, Hertz (Hz) is simply a unit of frequency. Let’s say you’re standing on a pier watching waves come in. As you look down at the waves you can see the crest of each wave roll on by. If you counted how many seconds between each wave crest this would be the frequency of the waves. So if the time between each crest was 1 second that would meant the wave frequency was 1 hertz or one cycle per second.
Comparing sea waves to Mhz and Ghz, these waves are moving at 1 million and 1 billion cycles per second in the air! And to receive the information found in these waves, your radio receiver needs to be set to receive waves of a certain frequency.
For WiFi this frequency happens to be 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. These waves are very similar to the frequency found in your microwave Your microwave uses 2.450Ghz to heat up food and your router uses 2.412 GHz to 2.472 GHz to transmit your data over WiFi.
A wireless network uses radio waves, just like cell phones, televisions and radios do. In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. Here’s what happens:
- A computer’s wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna.
- A wireless router receives the signal and decodes it. The router sends the information to the internet using a physical, wired ethernet connection.
The process also works in reverse, with the router receiving information from the internet, translating it into a radio signal and sending it to the computer’s wireless adapter.
The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies, cell phones and other devices. They can transmit and receive radio waves, and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s. But WiFi radios have a few notable differences from other radios:
- They transmit at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones, walkie-talkies and televisions. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data.
- 2.4 GHz connections are now considered somewhat obsolete because they carry lower data speeds than 5 GHz. The 2.4 band continues to see use, however, because the lower frequency can carry over several hundred feet. In ideal conditions, the 5 GHz band has a max range of about 200 feet (61 meters), but in the real world, it is much more prone to interference from walls, doors and other objects. The 2.4 band may be faster for a user connecting to a router several rooms away, while 5 GHz will definitely be faster for a close connection.
WiFi uses 802.11 networking standards, which come in several flavors and have evolved over the decades:
What is 802.11?
- 802.11b (introduced in 1999) is the slowest and least expensive standard. For a while, its cost made it popular, but now it’s less common as faster standards become less expensive. 802.11b transmits in the 2.4 GHz frequency band of the radio spectrum. It can handle up to 11 megabits of data per second, and it uses complementary code keying (CCK) modulation to improve speeds.
- 802.11a (introduced after 802.11b) transmits at 5 GHz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second. It uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a more efficient coding technique that splits that radio signal into several sub-signals before they reach a receiver. This greatly reduces interference.
- 802.11g transmits at 2.4 GHz like 802.11b, but it’s a lot faster — it can handle up to 54 megabits of data per second. 802.11g is faster because it uses the same OFDM coding as 802.11a.
- 802.11n (introduced in 2009) is backward compatible with a, b and g. It significantly improved speed and range over its predecessors. For instance, although 802.11g theoretically moves 54 megabits of data per second, it only achieves real-world speeds of about 24 megabits of data per second because of network congestion. 802.11n, however, reportedly can achieve speeds as high as 140 megabits per second. 802.11n can transmit up to four streams of data, each at a maximum of 150 megabits per second, but most routers only allow for two or three streams.
- 802.11ac came on the scene around 2014, and operates exclusively at a 5 GHz frequency. 802.11ac is backward compatible with 802.11n (and therefore the others, too), with n on the 2.4 GHz band and ac on the 5 GHz band. It is less prone to interference and far faster than its predecessors, pushing a maximum of 450 megabits per second on a single stream, although real-world speeds may be lower. Like 802.11n, it allows for transmission on multiple spatial streams — up to eight, optionally. It is sometimes called 5G because of its frequency band, sometimes Gigabit WiFi because of its potential to exceed a gigabit per second on multiple streams and sometimes Very High Throughput (VHT) for the same reason.
- 802.11ax, also known as WiFi 6, came to the industry in 2019. This standard extends the capabilities of 802.11ac in a few key ways. First of all, the new routers allow an even higher data flow rate, up to 9.2 Gbps (gigabits per second). WiFi 6 also lets manufacturers install many more antennas on one router, accepting multiple connections at once without any worry of interference and slowdown. Some new devices also connect on a higher 6 GHz band, which is about 20 percent faster than 5GHz in ideal conditions.
- 802.11be (or WiFi 7) is projected to be the standard by 2024, and should offer even better range, more connections and faster data rates than any of the previous versions.
Other 802.11 standards focus on specific applications of wireless networks, like wide area networks (WANs) inside vehicles or technology that lets you move from one wireless network to another seamlessly.
WiFi radios can transmit on any frequency band. Or they can “frequency hop” rapidly between the different bands. Frequency hopping helps reduce interference and lets multiple devices use the same wireless connection simultaneously.
As long as they all have wireless adapters, several devices can use one router to connect to the internet. This connection is convenient, virtually invisible and fairly reliable; however, if the router fails or if too many people try to use high-bandwidth applications at the same time, users can experience interference or lose their connections, although newer, faster standards like 802.11ax will help with that
How does wifi work?
A WiFi router first gets the data from a phone/cable line connected to it, converts this data into radio signals, and then transmits them in its range.
These signals are detected by nearby devices (e.g., laptop, smartphone etc.) that contain a wireless adapter. This adapter translates the data (that you are trying to send to the Internet) into radio signals through the use of an antenna.
The router receives these radio signals (sent by your smartphone), decodes them into data, and then sends that data to the Internet via an Ethernet connection. The same process is repeated in the reverse direction and Voila! Within seconds, you can update your Facebook status!
This process may sound like it takes a long time when described like this, but all of this actually takes place within a fraction of a second, thanks to the speed of radio waves, which, like any electromagnetic wave, travel at the speed of light.
I mentioned before that WiFi uses both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies. Generally older devices only have 2.4Ghz because that was the standard before 5Ghz came out.
But whether you are in the 2.4Ghz range or the 5Ghz range, there will be a set of channels your router will communicate on. These channels are a slightly different frequency from one another and they allow multiple routers to communicate in the same area without causing a lot of traffic. Just picture yourself driving on the freeway—if there was only one lane, it would cause a traffic jam; but with multiple lanes traffic flows smoothly.
You’ve probably noticed that you don’t have to worry about setting channels or anything when connecting to WiFi. That’s because this is usually set up automatically when you connect your router. Your computer and router will work out the details between them.
Just for your reference, 2.4Ghz has around 12 channels and 5Ghz has around 30 channels. I say around because the number of channels is dictated by the country you are in.
So now we know that radio waves can fly through the air and pass through a lot of things on their way to your router and wireless device. These waves are also high in frequency, which allows them to carry a lot more data than most other radio frequencies. This high speed and high capacity is what allows you to watch Netflix on your smartphone and laptop while being several rooms away from your router.
But the real magic of WiFi has to do with the processing that happens on the end of your WiFi chip. Each device’s WiFi chip converts 0’s and 1’s into radio waves to be sent out unto their destination, while at the same time converting a steady stream of 0’s and 1’s into data that your device can interpret as email, web pages, or anything else that you do on the web.
Let’s take a look at a standard wireless router that has a transfer speed of 54mbps (that’s megabits per second). As I’ve mentioned before, a bit consists of a 1 or a 0. At any given point while you’re using a wireless device, your wireless chip is transferring and receiving 54 million 1’s or 0’s in a single second. That would be about 13,000 pieces of paper, if printed out.
Needless to say it’s pretty impressive.
These 1’s and 0’s are the same signals that your wireless device would send if it were directly connected to your network with a wire. At this point your router considers your device to be exactly like any other device on the network. All of the communication is the same, your router just has to decide whether or not to send the signal over a wire or wirelessly using its radio.
So to sum it all up, when you use your laptop, all of your internet traffic is converted into 1’s and 0’s which is then sent to your device’s wireless chip. From there your wireless chip converts the 1’s and 0’s to into a radio frequency. Your router receives the signal and converts it back to 1’s and 0’s and then into the traffic from your device.