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What is WiFi and How Does it Work?

February 2016

WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to provide network connectivity. A WiFi connection is
established using a wireless adapter to create hotspots - areas in the vicinity of a wireless router that are
connected to the network and allow users to access internet services. Once configured, WiFi provides
wireless connectivity to your devices by emitting frequencies between 2.4GHz - 5GHz, based on the
amount of data on the network.
This article will introduce you to the basics of WiFi so that you may have a better understanding of the
worldwide phenomenon that provides you with your internet access.

1. What Does WiFi Stand For?

2. An Introduction to WiFi
3. How WiFi Works
4. WiFi Frequencies
5. What are Hotspots?
6. Connect To WiFi Via Modem

What Does WiFi Stand For?

You may be surprised to hear that many people don't actually know that WiFi is an abbreviated term. Even
those who do don't always know what WiFi stands for. There are a number of theories about what the term
means, but the most widely accepted definition for the term in the tech community is Wireless Fidelity.

An Introduction to WiFi
Wireless technology has widely spread lately and you can get connected almost anywhere; at home, at
work, in libraries, schools, airports, hotels and even in some restaurants. Wireless networking is known as
WiFi or 802.11 networking as it covers the IEEE 802.11 technologies. The major advantage of WiFi is that it
is compatible with almost every operating system, game device, and advanced printer.

How WiFi Works

Like mobile phones, a WiFi network makes use of radio waves to transmit information across a network.
The computer should include a wireless adapter that will translate data sent into a radio signal. This same
signal will be transmitted, via an antenna, to a decoder known as the router. Once decoded, the data will
be sent to the Internet through a wired Ethernet connection. As the wireless network works as a two-way
traffic, the data received from the internet will also pass through the router to be coded into a radio signal
that will be received by the computer's wireless adapter.

WiFi Frequencies
A wireless network will transmit at a frequency level of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz to adapt to the amount of data that
is being sent by the user. The 802.11 networking standards will somewhat vary depending mostly on the
user's needs. The 802.11a will transmit data at a frequency level of 5GHz. The Orthogonal Frequency-
Division Multiplexing (OFDM) used enhances reception by dividing the radio signals into smaller signals
before reaching the router. You can transmit a maximum of 54 megabits of data per second. The 802.11b
will transmit data at a frequency level of 2.4GHz, which is a relatively slow speed. You can transmit a
maximum of 11 megabits of data per second. The 802.11g will transmit data at 2.4GHz but can transmit a
maximum of 54 megabits of data per second as it also uses an OFDM coding. The more advanced
802.11n can transmit a maximum of 140 megabits of data per second and uses a frequency level of 5GHz.

What are Hotspots?

The term hotspot is used to define an area where WiFi access is available. It can either be through a
closed wireless network at home or in public places such as restaurants or airports. In order to access
hotspots, your computer should include a wireless adapter. If you are using an advanced laptop model, it
will probably include a built-in wireless transmitter already. If it doesn't, you can purchase a wireless
adapter that will plug into the PCI slot or USB port. Once installed, your system should automatically detect
the WiFi hotspots and request connection. If not, you should use a software to handle this task for you.
Avanquest Connection Manager Download Link:
Manager---Free_program_43556.html CommView for Wifi Download Link:
Wirelessmon Download Link:

Connect To WiFi Via Modem

To start a connection with a wireless router, you must first ensure that it is plugged into the internet
connection point. Turn on your external modem before plugging the router into your computer via an
Ethernet cable. Then, switch on your wireless router and open your internet browser. You will be asked to
enter in a router IP address. This IP address will vary, depending on the service you use. Users using
Belkin should enter If you are a Linksys user, enter If you're not
using either service, enter code Now fill in your router's username and password. Set
your SSID (wireless capability) as active, and then type in the username and password provided by your
ISP and select either WEP or WPA security. Choose a new passkey to finish the WiFi configuration.

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