What is WiFi? - Explained

What is WiFi? - Explained

WiFi Logo is a fully own trademark of WiFi Alliance

Almost each and every device which are there in the world connected by someway to the internet or to a closed network. There are mediums which allows the users to get connected via wired networks and as well as wireless networks. 

Wired networks needs copper wires to connect each and every devices to the network. Wireless connectivity technologies do use radio signals to transmit data unlike copper cables in wired networks.

1. What is WiFi?

WiFi is a wireless technology which built by using radio waves to carry signals. WiFi uses a two radio frequencies and multiple channels to send radio signals what carrying the data. There are two frequencies that used by WiFi technology.

WiFi technology uses two major bands to provide the connectivity to devices which are getting connected by using WiFi. 2.4GHz WiFi is the most popular WiFi network in the world. There are many devices with 2.4GHz than 5GHz WiFi broadcasting capability. 2.4GHz WiFi networks are mostly based on the 802.11 b, g and n types of WiFi categories.

WiFi networks which are on 2.4GHz does have limited number of channels to be covered rather comparing with the 5GHz WiFi networks. There are wide range of features in 5GHz WiFi network rather comparing with 2.4GHz WiFi networks.

2. Security  

WiFi networks do have secured channels to validate the users who are trying to login into the WiFi network. Apart from that there are multiple ways of filtering the users and manage users who are trying to login to the WiFi network.

2.1 Connectivity Security

Devices which are designed to cater WiFi signals and build networks upon WiFi do have multiple security levels that can be assigned by any WiFi device admin or WiFi device user.

WiFi device admin or the WiFi device user can open up the WiFi without any security measures and since the WiFi network is open anybody will have the capability to login to the WiFi access point or the WiFi router or the device which is having WiFi.

WEP also known as Wired Equivalent Privacy, WPA also known as WiFi Protected Access and WPA2 also knwo as WiFi Protected Access v2 are available in almost any WiFi device to provide security for the device and to keep the unwanted parties getting connected to the device without having the right password.

2.2 MAC Filtering

There could be users with certain devices, who you don't want to get connected to the WiFi network that you use or the WiFi network that you manage. Each device which does have an WiFi module comes with an MAC address, which is unique to the device. MAC address is also known as Media Access Control Address.

By using the MAC address, it's possible for the WiFi device admin to limit or block the access privileges to get connected to the WiFi networks though they have the right password for the WiFi network.

2.3 URL Filtering 

WiFi networks could be established in offices and homes where there are kids. In offices, to optimize the employee's work time the management do have the capability to block multiple URLs or the web address by the WiFi network.

In homes, where there are kids. parents also can allow only certain websites or block certain websites by the WiFi router or the access point.

3. Who Owns WiFi?

There are many companies in the world claimed that they have invented the WiFi and it needs some history to validate the fact. 

3.1 History

First Usage of WiFi is reported in 1971. ALOHAnet connected the hawaiian Islands with UHF(Ultra High Frequency) Wireless network.

In 1985, US Federal Communications Commission circulated that ISM band is unlicensed to use by any person. With that the microwaves oven what we used in daily uses the same frequency as WiFi networks. But the allowing this to use without license, they are subjected to interference.

An Australian radio astronomers named Dr. John O'Sullivan with Terence Percival, Graham Danielsm, Diet Ostry and John Deane developed a patent used in WiFi as a by product of a failed project which is to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation(CSIRO). CSIRO got the patent for WiFi in 1992 and 1996.

In 1999, the WiFi Alliance is formed as a trade association and WiFi is a trademark owned by WiFi Alliance. WiFi Alliance is the key to selling products which does have WiFi.

Though there were multiple organization claimed that they have invented WiFi, CSIRO received 1 Billion USD from 14 tech companies for infringements on CSIRO patents in 2009 and labelled the WiFi as an Australian invention.

Further to the 1 Billion USD settlement, CSIRO also received 220 million USD settlement from many global tech firms in USA for infringement patents of CSIRO for WiFi.

For the licensing rights which are related to WiFi, CSIRO gained more than 1 Billion USD as royalties.

4. Advantages of WiFi?

WiFi is used in wide range of applications all around the world due to the characteristics of the technology in WiFi. WiFi networks are easy to setup because of the plug and play capability which is inbuilt in to the device.

Due to the not required for licensing to frequency which used by WiFi, the technology is more popular for general communication.

Unlike wired network, the cost of setting up a WiFi network is extremely cost efficient. The overhead cost which goes to network cables which required to connect two devices is not required because of WiFi.

Almost every WiFi device is Ultra Portable and easy to carry in a pocket of a shirt or a jean. Because of the reason there are many connectivity devices which are there used by general public users in mass scale to achieve connectivity.

Using WiFi is really a game changer and made the human's lives easy.


5. Who Uses WiFi?

Individuals like you, me and to the enterprises and governments use WiFi achieve various types of connectivity. 

5.1 Individuals

Individuals uses WiFi for various connectivity types. In general almost all the homes do have a WiFi access point where it shares the internet with all the smart phones, Smart Watches, tablets, laptops and other desktop computers.

There are large number of individuals who are using Amazon's Alexa and Google Home to build smart home concepts. Each Amazon Alexa and google home connects via WiFi network to communicate.

There are smart TVs which are there in almost every living room and the smart TVs communicate by using WiFi to stream movies and other related medias to play on the display.

People use WiFi to connect the printer to take printouts rather connecting the wire by going to where the printer is at. 

When we are running around here and there, whenever we need to get connected to internet via the laptop, we are more used use the hotspot feature in the smart phone of ours. Hotspot is using WiFi module which is there in the smart phone to create a WiFi zone to share the internet.

5.2 Small & Medium Enterprises

Small and medium businesses are running with limited capital. Investing on infrastructure could cost the business in extremely high amount in cash. Most of the small and medium businesses are based on rented space and running network cables desk to a desk could cost lot of cash where-ever there's a office movement happens.

Small and medium businesses using WiFi wireless networks to make the operations smoother at the lowest possible cost investing so much amount of cash into the infrastructure.

Almost all the small and medium sized businesses in the world do run the internal network with WiFi which includes the printing capability and Projector TVs each and everything possible.

Due to the easy to setup features and low cost rather comparing with other networking equipment like switches and hubs which needs to connect Ethernet cables, WiFi doesn't require anything bulky. 

5.3 Large Enterprises

Large businesses which does have more than over 100 employees or more than 1000 employees working to achieve a common goals uses WiFi to minimize the cost of infrastructure.

By using WiFi it's possible to for manufacturing firms and production businesses where the manufacturing lines are couple of miles and miles far to connect easily by using the wireless networks. WiFi has become very popular and easy to use setup and use networks for the even for large enterprises.

Most of the large businesses are focusing on offering a flexible working pattern to the employees of the company. Companies wants the employees in the business needs to be working on flexible places in the organization rather sitting on a table. To offer the flexibility to the employee there are many organizations in the world who has implemented WiFi networks into the office environments. 

5.4 Governments

For the last couple of years, governments have used WiFi in large scale to provide solutions to the general public. There are many governments in many countries who has offered free WiFi connectivity to the general public by implementing WiFi Zones in public areas.

Governments offices also adopting Wireless communication to the internal infrastructure to cater the general public with better efficiency and in flexible environments like natural disaster affected areas.

Due to the lowest cost of setting up a network and maintaining the network is the key point that many governments which has adopted WiFi like technologies expectation.  

5.5 IoT Developers

IoT devices are taking a huge spikes in the technology sector. And there are many developers who are developing solutions and applications by using IoT concepts. The most concerned fact in the IoT devices are the cost per a fully functional product. 

Each and every IoT device require connectivity to the internet to perform a task or send an update to a central server which could be miles and miles away from the device's deployed location. The cheapest and the most flexible way to communicate among the networks are the Wireless networks. Due to not required feature in the WiFi networks, the most of the IoT devices are built upon WiFi connectivity.

If a developer needs to test a particular device's connectivity, the best possible way is to setup a WiFi network and get connected to it. And rather setting up network cables, it's cost efficient and easy to use when it comes to WiFi networks.

6. Versions

VersionLaunched YearFeaturesFrequency
WiFi 802.11 Legacy19972 Mbps2.4 GHz
WiFi 802.11 a199954 Mbps5 GHz
WiFi 802.11 b200011 Mbps2.4 GHz
WiFi 802.11 g200354 Mbps2.4 GHz
WiFi 802.11 n2009450 Mbps2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
WiFi 802.11 ac Wave12013866.7 Mbps5 GHz
WiFi 802.11 ac Wave220131.73 Gbps5 GHz