Wireless technology (WiFi) explained
WiFi wireless Internet allows users to access the World Wide Web through whatever device they are using, assuming it has WiFi capabilities. Desktop computers may need to have a special wireless card installed before they are able to access WiFi networks, but most laptops have this capability already built-in. Some NetBook laptops are unable to connect to networks which use the latest 802-11n standard, but can still connect to the more widely used 802-11b and 802-11g.
Using WiFi, users can move throughout an area while being able to check email, access web pages, and perform other tasks which involve the World Wide Web. The limitations of Internet in this case depend upon the device which is being used and on any restrictions set by the owner of the network. Otherwise, a wireless internet connection provides all the same functionality as any regular Internet connection would.
By using special WiFi media adapters, an Ethernet system can be converted for wireless use throughout an office building or other general area. The Ethernet system can then be accessed by anything with the capability to use it, similarly to Internet. The difference between Internet and Ethernet WiFi systems doesn’t involve the wireless connection itself, which is basically the same thing either way: a router which is connected to the physical network and which broadcasts wireless signals.
WiFi Ethernet allows for wireless LANs, Local Area Networks, to be formed. Through these networks, users can access data on a local server and view other computers which are connected to the network. This sort of network is convenient in many circumstances where a small, locally accessible server serves better than the Internet itself. It does not, however, permit access to the Internet (although dual Internet and Ethernet accessibility through a single router is possible, if both networks are installed within the building). For more information, please see the other published articles on Ethernet and LANs.
Pros and Cons of WiFi Wireless Technology
The advantages of wireless technology, combined with the compatibility brought about by the WiFi Alliance, should be fairly obvious. A wireless network allows portability for users within a building, so they can travel short distances while still using their laptops or other portable devices with full functionality. It also all but eliminates the mess and hassle of cables: even though the wireless router itself must be physically connected to the network cables, no extra wires will need to be present in public areas.
The lack of cables also means that nobody will be accidentally knocking wires out, which helps to prevent some problems that could be caused by an unexpectedly lost connection.
Of course, everything has cons as well as pros, and wireless networks are no exception. The main problem with wireless networks is their lack of range: even a device which complies with 802-11n has a maximum 300-foot range, and some devices, especially small NetBooks, are not compatible with that standard. Additionally, even the 802-11n standard can’t compare to fibre optic cable in terms of speed and bandwidth.
Wireless networks may also be susceptible to interference even with the WEP security protocol. Finally, having WiFi routers placed too far apart or too closely together may result in dead zones or in crossing signals which make it impossible to connect properly. Fortunately, many of these cons may be circumvented with a skilled professional performing wireless network planning and installation.
To avoid dead zones or ineffective overlapping signals, routers must be placed in strategic locations within a building. WiFi surveys take the building’s dimensions and construction and the range of different routers into account to be sure they are placed effectively. The best way to determine where WiFi routers should be placed is to have a professional perform an on-site consultation.
Active Communication Company Ltd provides these consultations for free, and can assist any company with building a custom network which is perfect for them from start to finish.
Naturally, in this age of technology, there are computer-based options available to conduct automated surveys as well. Software from the Internet can calculate the specifications of a building and the range of different types of WiFi networks to help determine where routers should be placed for maximum coverage and effectiveness.
Buildings which already have a WiFi network in place and wish to add a new router or two may find it more convenient to simply download the software. However, for any network which is being built from scratch or added to substantially, a professional and personal on-site survey is highly recommended.