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Wi-Fi – How does it really work?

Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. Here’s what happens:

  1. A computer’s wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna.
  2. 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.

WIFI radio communication

The radios used for WIFI communication are very similar to the radios used for cell phones. They can transmit and receive radio waves, and they can convert One’s and Zero’s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into One’s and Zero. 

WIFI radio differences

The notable difference being that they transmit at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data.

  • 802.11a transmits at 5 GHz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second. 

  • 802.11b is the slowest and least expensive standard. 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.

  • 802.11n is the most widely available of the standards and is backwards compatible with a, b and g. 802.11n reportedly can achieve speeds as high as 140 megabits per second. 

  • 802.11ac is backwards compatible with the other standards. With n on the 2.4 GHz band and ac on the 5 GHz band, it is less prone to interference.  It can move data at a maximum of 450 megabits per second on a single stream.

WIFI radios use 802.11 networking standards, which come in several flavours:

As long as devices have wireless adapters, they can connect to a router and surf the internet. This connection is convenient, virtually invisible and fairly reliable.

Give us a call if you would like for us to help deliver the connectivity you are looking for. Call Ryan Danvers on 072 601 2858.