What is WiFiWith all of these new technologies and acronyms, consumers are having a difficult time keeping up. What is WiFi? Wi-Fi is one more that benefits many consumers in their homes as well as at the office and the coffee shop.  Wi-Fi is a technology that eliminates the cable or wire between your computer and the modem that sits in your home which the cable or the telephone wires are attached too. If you have a smart phone that is Wi-Fi capable it also can take advantage of the wireless access in your home or at the office and coffee shop.  Wi-Fi eliminates the need to find a wired network connection.

While this is a great step forward with no more wires running around your home, you still need to understand how to program your computer or smart phone to take advantage of the Wi-Fi wireless network.
Every device is different, although most are intuitive and easy to set up. Ask the sales person to walk you through the set up procedure so that you can set up your computer or smart phone on your wireless network when you get home.

The following provides a little more information for the average consumer.  For most people, you just want to know that it works and these devices today are so user friendly that most people can set them up easily in their own home. Just follow the instructions that come with the device and you should be good to go.  Read on for more info about Wi-Fi. we will also be adding additional posts about how W-Fi is used in the home and in the office as well.

What is WiFi Technology

For the average person, Wi-Fi technology is basically a box that has one or more antenna’s on it, sometimes they are inside the unit. This unit is usually attached to a cable modem for example or more often now, manufacturers are combining the cable modem and the Wi-Fi terminal in one box to eliminate even more wiring and cost.  Position the Wi-Fi terminal in a relatively central location in your home, in an out of the way location and you will have uniform wireless coverage through out your home. Same applies to the office, although you may end up having more than one Wi-Fi device if it is a large office.

Once installed and connected, you can send and receive all of your usual email, data, video etc via your Wi-Fi device. These devices save hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in cabling that is no longer needed.

All major communications suppliers including the cable companies and the telephone companies now offer Wi-Fi terminals for your use, usually combined with your standard monthly data service.

What is WiFi Frequency Band for Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi products operate over a specific set of radio waves. In the same way as your cell phone, garage door opener, TV, radio, GPS navigation system or microwave. Each of these types of products  have been designed to operate in a specific frequency band of the radio spectrum to ensure that there is no interference between them.

Radio Band Examples

  • AM broadcast band (530-1610 kHz)
  • Shortwave bands (5.9-26.1 MHz)
  • Citizens’ band (26.965-27.405 MHz)
  • Television channels 2-6 (54-88 MHz)
  • FM broadcast band (88-108 MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (2.4GHz or 5GHz)

Wi-Fi products operate in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. Most radio bands require a license from the government. Not so with Wi-Fi.  These bands are designated as “license-free”. This indicates that individuals may use products designed for these bands without a government license. A great deal of coordination in the design of these devices with other products has taken place. This is needed to ensure that there is no interference and all manufacturers must adhere to these rules. For the average consumer, you just need to know that this is all taken care of. They will have no impact on anything else in your home.

What is 802.11?

Standards bodies control the design of all products in the world. Each design, in this case for Wi-Fi receives a designation.  Wi-Fi products are identified as 802.11. They are then further identified by a lower case letter that identifies which specific technology is in operation. Each specifies a set of features that relate to performance, frequency and bandwidth. When you purchase a Wi-Fi device, you want to make sure that device is compatible with the latest Wi-Fi standard.

Wi-Fi Generations

Most new devices are tested to ensure they are back word compatible. In other words that they will work with older devices. There is a limit to this. Even though you may not have the latest Wi-Fi compatible software on your computer for example, it may still work. You can just try it and see or compare the specs for the Wi-Fi device you are buying. For most people this is way too much information and complexity. 99% of all new computers are equipped with the latest Wi-Fi technology.

For more information about using WiFi in your home, click here.