Wi-Fi is WLAN (Wireless LAN, Wireless Network) or wireless communication technology that uses IEEE 802.11 standard waves. Wi-Fi is not an acronym for Wireless Fidelity, it is just a trading name.
What is Wi-Fi?
In 1999, 3com, Intersil, Lucent Technologies, Nokia and Symbol Technologies companies set up an association to create an association known as WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance), which was renamed as the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2003, which was no longer just a promotion. met. Their aim is to establish standards to ensure that equipment equipped with this wireless technology is compatible with each other.
In April 2000, the first standard was created: WiFi 802.11b, using the 2.4 GHz band and reaching 11 Mbps. After this specification came 802.11a, which caused some problems between the United States and Europe due to the band used. While the 5 GHz band was released in the United States, it was devoted to military purposes in Europe, which was somewhat paralyzed by this wireless technology, especially with the consideration of most device manufacturers, especially North Americans, and was slow to react to the impossibility of selling their products on the old continent.
After much discussion, the 802.11g version, using the 2.4 GHz band like “b” but with a speed of 54 Mbps, was approved. Incompatibility problems have occurred with the use of other versions in the market. So the next step is to start solutions tagged as multipoint for these versions to work together.
In this case, the 5 GHz band, previously reserved for military use, is activated for civil use. It was a huge advance not only because it offered the highest speed, but because there were no other wireless technologies using Bluetooth, Wireless USB or ZigBee using the same frequency.
Two types of Wi-Fi communication standards at that time; It was 802.11b spreading at 11 Mbps and 802.11g spreading faster at 54MB/s. Its speed and range (100-150 meters to affordable equipment) make it the perfect formula for wireless Internet access. One of the curiosities of the 802.11n specification is that the products have reached the market before being approved, they are called Draft-N, which means that they are subject to the draft, not the final standard.
Although Wi-Fi call is thought to come from Wi-Fi as the equivalent of Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) used in voice recording, WECA hired an advertising company to give it a standard name and be easy to remember.
Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which supports the Wi-Fi name, said: Wi-Fi and Ying Yang’s logo were designed by the Interbrand agency. We hired Interbrand to create a short name that is easy for us to remember. We needed something a bit more remarkable than “Direct Stream IEEE 802.11b”. Interbrand created names like “Prozac”, “Compaq,” “OneWorld,” “Imation”. They even made up the name VIVATO for the company.
To have a wireless network at home, you will only need an access point that connects to the modem and a Wi-Fi device to connect to the device. There are Wi-Fi terminals connected to the computer via USB, but PCI cards are recommended, which allows us to save the physical workspace faster and faster. They have laptops where you can also find external PCMI cards, but most devices are already sold with an integrated card. In any case, it is recommended that you keep the access point at a high location so that the intake and emission are more fluid, even if we realize that our speed is not as high as recommended.
How It Works?
The network is quite simple to operate, normally you just need to connect the devices and install their Software. Most Wi-Fi Routers contain configuration tools to control access to information transmitted over the air. In a wireless network, each computer has a wireless network adapter. These adapters send and receive Radio waves via a transceiver that can be placed anywhere within range, inside or outside, without worrying about wiring.
Wireless networks allow data transmission at speeds of 11 Mbps or higher, which provides sufficient speed for most applications. It can be said that the Wi-Fi environment is an ideal solution that combines mobility and connectivity in data transmission, offering the possibility of a new “mobile office” wherever you are.
When it comes to Wireless Connections, it is not difficult for anyone to interrupt communication and access our information flow. For this, transmission encryption is recommended to broadcast in a secure environment. This is possible thanks to new security features such as WPA and dynamic access key generation, which are much safer than previous WEP. For more advanced users, there is the possibility to configure the access point to spread only to certain devices. It is a unique identifier of the devices assigned during their construction using the MAC address and only allows access to the installed devices.
Parallelism of Connections
There is no difference between a wired network (coaxial cable, fiber optic) and wireless network. The difference is that wireless networks transmit and receive data through electromagnetic waves, which means eliminating cable usage and therefore total flexibility in communication.
Security and Reliability
One of the problems Wi-Fi technology is currently facing is the progressive saturation of the radio spectrum due to the mass of users, which particularly affects long-distance connections (more than 100 meters).
Wi-Fi was originally designed to connect computers to the network over short distances, longer-range use is now at risk of excessive interference.
It is installed without considering the very high level of network security, thus turning networks into open networks (or completely vulnerable to crackers), it does not protect the information circulating through them.
There are several alternatives to guarantee the security of these networks. The most common is the use of data encryption protocols for Wi-Fi standards, such as WEP, WPA, or WPA2, which are responsible for encrypting transmitted information to protect the privacy provided by the wireless devices themselves. Most of the ways are as follows:
WEP encrypts the data on your network so that only the intended recipient can access it. 64-bit and 128-bit encryption are two levels of WEP security. WEP encrypts data using an encryption “key” before sending it to the air. This type of encryption is not highly recommended due to the large vulnerabilities it offers, as it can extract any crackers key.
WPA: It offers improvements, such as the dynamic generation of the access key. Keys are inserted as alphanumeric numbers with no length limit
IPSEC (IP tunnels): VPNs and IEEE 802.1X set of standards that allow user authentication and authorization.
MAC filtering so only authorized devices are allowed to access the network. It is recommended only if it is to be used with the same equipment and if there is little.
Hiding the access point: You can hide the access point (router) so that it cannot be seen by other users.
The security protocol called WPA2 (802.11i standard) is an improvement over this WPA. In principle, it is currently the safest security protocol for Wi-Fi. However, they require compatible hardware and software because they are not older.
However, there is no completely reliable alternative, because they are all liable for the violation.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Wi-Fi networks have several advantages that we can emphasize:
As wireless networks, the comfort they offer is far superior to wired networks because anyone with access to the network can be connected from different points in a sufficiently large area.
Once configured, Wi-Fi networks provide access to multiple computers without any problems or expenses in the infrastructure, not in cable technology.
The Wi-Fi Alliance provides the sum of compatibility between Wi-Fi branded devices, so we can use Wi-Fi technology with full compatibility anywhere in the world.
However, Wi-Fi technology as a wireless network presents the unique problems of any wireless technology. Some of them:
One of the disadvantages of the Wi-Fi system is a lower speed than wired connection due to interference and signal loss caused by the environment.
The main disadvantage of these networks is in the security area. There are some programs that can capture packets so that they can calculate the network password and thus access it and work in mixed mode with your Wi-Fi card. WEP type keys are relatively easy to obtain.
The Wi-Fi alliance solved these issues by removing the WPA standard based on the 802.11i workgroup, and then WPA2. Networks protected by WPA2 are considered robust as they provide very good security. In any case, many companies do not allow their employees to have a wireless network.
This problem gets worse if we consider that the coverage of a connection cannot be controlled so that a receiver can be connected outside the intended reception area (for example, outside an office, from an adjacent house). It should be noted that this technology is not compatible with other types of wireless connections such as Bluetooth, GPRS, UMTS.