Gone are the days when everything networking technology meant wires and cables. That era saw the era of telephones, internet connectivity, and a host of other things possible through wired connections. Wired connections pose its distance and mobile limits to the users of these connections so there was a need for a more flexible means of connectivity which ushered in the wireless connectivity.
Wireless connectivity has gone beyond telephoning but has also extended to internet connections, remote controls, input and accessibility to even automated actions like driving. Wireless networks have their own profound advantages which include mobility, convenience, flexibility, and ease in data transfer. Other advantages may include that it can be employed faster, and can reach areas where wired connections may be expensive to deploy. In fact, most devices been produced and used now operates as wireless devices; from your computers to your smartphones, headsets, mice, clickers, remote controls, home appliances, cards for buses, trains, door openers, toys, and a set of others.
Wireless networks are categorized based on the range of their limits. Today we have an enormous number of wireless technologies in existence, each with its features, performance, and the specific purpose it is designed for. They range from Bluetooth, LTE, HSPA, WiMax, ZigBee, Satellite services, Wi-Fi, etc. Wi-Fi connections which are so far the most successful Internet access technology ever invented have gained popular usage in homes, companies, schools, public gatherings, and even in transport systems. However, most users may not know how it necessarily works except for experts dealing with set-ups and maintenance. The whole process of how the Wi-Fi works can be explained and the understanding can help anyone get the most out of their Wi-Fi connections.
A careful read-through of this guide is highly recommended for everyone who intends to get the most out of their Wi-Fi devices and connections.
WHAT IS WI-FI AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
We may have not considered how much Wi-Fi has become a valuable tool for our everyday living and day-to-day tasks. If you haven’t given that a thought, well you should now and that should make you curious to know what the Wi-Fi is and how it works. Do you also believe that the acronym Wi-Fi was coined from the phrase “Wireless Fidelity”? While there have been conflicting opinions on this. There are various interesting facts to note about the Wi-Fi brand. You’ll discover that there is a Wi-Fi logo or emblem on most mobile equipment you buy today.
The Wi-Fi is a wireless connection that employs radio frequencies to send signals between connected devices.
Historically, the first wireless data network which was a precursor to the Wi-Fi was first created in 1971 in Hawaii and in 1991 the NCR Corporation and the AT&T Corporation developed the WaveLan which then ushered in the first version of the Wi-Fi six years after. This invention was released as the IEEE 802.11 wireless protocol which was the set of standards that enables communication for local area networks. Not until two years after in 1997 upon the intervention of a brand-consulting firm to market the technology to consumers brought about the brand “Wi-Fi”. Sequel to the IEEE 802.11 there have been newer versions invented and which has their unique upsides and downsides as it relates to speed, data, cost, and standards.
Let’s proceed on how the WiFi works. Having said earlier that the Wi-Fi uses radio frequency to send a signal. This occurs where a wireless adapter transmits the radio signal. Such a radio signal is transmitted at 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz using an antenna after which a wireless router receives and decodes the signal which then sends information to the internet. The reverse happens in the process of receiving information from the internet and then translating it into a radio signal.
It should also be noted that a router can have multiple adapters from several devices connected to it. Although this multiple-use may cause a loss in connection or interference where too many people use applications that requires a high-bandwidth simultaneously.
This will then lead to understanding the Wi-Fi speed.
THE WIFI SPEED
Have you ever felt the urge or the need to make your Wi-Fi run faster? Testing one’s Wi-Fi speed is important to its usage and also understanding what affects the connection speed. Your Wi-Fi speed is important and noteworthy as it helps you determine the number or range of activities you can do while it is connected per time. You can also decide the number of devices to be connected at various times depending on the level of expected outputs. Knowing your Wi-Fi speed will also help you determine how much transfer of data and information can be transferred while your devices are connected at a given time and will help you figure out what needs to be done to increase your Wi-Fi speed.
You should also be able to specify your internet needs in terms of the speed of your connection. If you can figure this out, after carrying a speed test on your Wi-Fi you may also then decide whether you need to make your Wi-Fi run faster.
The bandwidth measures the capacity of your network connection per a given time. The bandwidth tells you the total number of frequencies. The higher the capacity of your Wi-Fi device which is the bandwidth determines the network speed. In testing your Wi-Fi speed, what you are checking is your download speed, upload speed, and ping rate. The download rate which is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) is used to signify how fast your device downloads data. The Upload speed works similarly on the other hand but in contrast to measuring how quick your data uploads are. The Ping rate identifies the estimated time taken for a data packet from the sender to the receiver and like the two elements mentioned earlier, this is also measured in Megabits Per Second (Mbps).
There are various Wi-Fi speed test services online that you can access to determine your Wi-Fi speed. It should also be noted that this test is not to be taken just once. Some of the things that may affect your Wi-Fi speed include the time of the day when you measure the speed. It is known that there are certain times of the day when the bulk of fellow users of the same Wi-Fi device tend to be all connected at the same time. This time of the day is dependent on where the device in question is located. For instance, in most homes, they usually experience slower speed over the weekends because a lot of persons are usually connected to the Wi-Fi at the same time.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WIFI SPEED
Ensure your router is located in an open space without any object obstructing it. You should also ensure the router is updated to avoid malware invasion that could hinder your Wi-Fi speed. Preventing unknown devices from connecting to your device can also help improve your Wi-Fi speed. You can also use a Wi-Fi booster or extender to improve the speed.
In case you are wondering whether your Wi-Fi is fast enough will depend on your data requirement which depends on what you use the internet for. The Federal Communications Commission prescribes 25 Mbps as the minimum speed for downloads and any speed above that threshold would be considered as good internet speed and speeds within the 100+ Mbps would be regarded as fast internet.
This chapter considers the primary hardware component of a WI-FI. Most homes or offices have a Wi-Fi installed in it or you may be looking to set one up. In any of the cases, there are some basic components of the hardware system that you should consider. It is also essential to understand that going through the numerous list of components for a functioning Wi-Fi set-up is not enough to enhance performance. You will need to properly maintain and update the components regularly to boost the steady performance of your device. These components include adapters, routers and access points, antennas, and repeaters.
Network adapters (also known as wireless NICs or wireless network cards) are a major part of our Wi-Fi hardware systems and are built-in to enable the wireless capability feature of our Wi-Fi enabled devices. They are often small PCI cards or card-like adapters for desktop, while they look like thick credit cards for notebook computers. The present era is experiencing innovation though in terms of wireless adapters being produced as small chips embedded in notebook or handheld computers. Where you are using old hardware or PC without this wireless capability feature you may need to purchase a Wi-Fi adapter for it.
Wireless adapters contain radio transceivers for transmitting and receiving signals. This helps in sending, receiving, organizing, and translating information between the computer and the network. You can confirm the features and specifications of your devices to figure whether they contain built-in wireless adapter features or not.
Wireless routers form the central system of the Wi-Fi setup. A wireless router has multiple useful functions such as broadband routers to support Internet connection, sharing, and firewall technology helps to create maximum security for your network and its end-users. The security of your network is essential to its high performance. Once your internet service provider supplies a modem, the wireless router is connected directly to the modem by wire, and then every other device in the home or office is connected wirelessly to the router. A wireless router is necessary when you set up a Wi-Fi network.
If you will want to enjoy your video streaming and fun online gaming, you should look out for wireless routers set at 802.11ax standards. Older routers are slower and wireless AC is still a great choice, so the router choice can depend on your data and speed requirement. Routers are a good component of your Wi-Fi setup. It’s important to choose the right hardware when you’re setting up.
This is an essential component of the Wi-Fi hardware that enhances the Wireless Local Area Network that allows various internet-enabled devices to connect to the Wi-Fi. They are thin boxes with various LED lights on the surface. This is used for projecting a Wi-Fi signal to a particular area. Access points allow wireless networks to join an existing wired network. This situation occurs in an office or home that already has wired routers and equipment installed.
The number of Access Points you will need will be dependent on some factors such as the square footage among other variables. You may need to get expert advice on the type and number of access points you will need as well as the appropriate location. While using the routers, all wireless network adapters must be run in infrastructure mode or otherwise in ad-hoc mode.
You can use a wireless antenna to drastically extend the range of your radio signals. Don’t forget that your Wi-Fi works with radio signals. Most routers come with built-in antennas, but they may not be found or fixed in older routers. Some wireless antennas, like those on adapters, are internal to the unit. Other antennas, like those on many access points, are externally visible. While you may not necessarily employ antennas for your home Wi-Fi setup, you could fix antennas afterward to increase the range of your Wi-Fi adapters. You may not know you’ll need this piece of equipment until after you finish your basic network setup.
WIRELESS SIGNAL BOOSTERS
This is a small device used to extend the transmitter. It’s possible to deploy wireless signal boosters and Wi-Fi antennas together, to improve transmission and reception.
You can also increase the reach of your network with a wireless repeater connected to your router or access point. Many times this device is called various names ranging from a signal booster to a range expander. A repeater is usually used in large buildings or homes to aid devices that don’t receive strong signals due to the long distance between these devices and the location of the router.
Mesh Wi-Fi which performs similar functions as wireless repeaters are becoming largely popular in homes as people continue to increase the number of devices they connect to their Wi-Fi. You can get available mesh Wi-Fi systems or a new wireless routers model that have mesh network features. Mesh Wi-Fi networks unlike wireless repeaters do not create a new or expanded access point. They create a flexible and cohesive expanded Wi-Fi network. Mesh network is a set of router-like devices set up in unit parts of a large building to serve Wi-Fi in that unit.
SETTING UP YOUR WIFI CONNECTION
After explaining all you need to know on the elements of your Wi-Fi hardware system, what comes next is to understand how your device can be installed and how you can set up the connection to your Wi-Fi enabled devices. By now you should have an idea of how the various component works and how they are interconnected, this chapter is to help you set up your Wi-Fi connection and can give guidelines on troubleshooting when there is a connection problem.
• First, you will need to ensure your wireless router is located at the center within the range of the distance of the building. In a bid to enhance your Wi-Fi’ performance, ensure that your device is close to the router to guarantee better network speed.
• You will then be required to connect the wireless router to a power outlet. You can also connect your router to a switch or hub and this can be made possible because most routers have numerous access points. You then go-ahead to set up your Wi-Fi network name.
• To set up your Wi-Fi network name, there are certain terms to consider and understand. The Wi-Fi network you just installed; comprising of the access points and routers has a network name called the SSID. This is an acronym that means “Service Set Identifier (SSID)”. Initially, all products come with default manufacturers’ SSID. It is very essential that you change the default SSID immediately when setting up your wireless network for security reasons. It should also be noted that the Wi-Fi router and other devices on the local network must share a similar identity/network name. (SSID).
• The next thing you will be required to do is to set up the WEP security and the firewall features to protect your network from unwarranted interference.
• As advised earlier you will need to set your wireless adapter on the infrastructure mode. This will make Wi-Fi adapters detect and automate their channel number to match the access points. In configuring your Wi-Fi adapters, you will have to choose between the infrastructure mode/access point mode and the ad-hoc wireless/peer-to-peer mode. The Ad-hoc mode setup works suitably for homes or small office buildings that have few connections and they are placed a bit closer. Alternatively, this configuration can also be used this configuration as a fallback option in the event your access point or router breaks in the infrastructure mode.
• You should also avoid network interference from other home appliances when setting up your Wi-Fi network. There could be signal interference to your local network within the home. This could be from other wireless home appliances such as door openers, baby monitors, etc. Another barrier you may encounter is maintaining a strong network signal due to physical barriers.
• There could also be external interference of your Wi-Fi network when radio signals from another home network in a populated area interfere with another network. This usually occurs with neighboring households setting conflicting communication channels. You can change your channel number when configuring an access point/router.
• There is also the Media Access Control for address filtering which is a security feature that helps you reject connections from devices, not on your list. This feature is available in newer Wi-Fi routers and can be combined with strong Wi-Fi encryption for good security protection.
• Do not forget to keep a record of details for your set up like your network name/SSID, security key or password, Wi-Fi channel numbers, and MAC addresses. This will help you to easily alter or change any details as you install your Wi-Fi Network.
Should you encounter problems when setting-up your Wi-Fi connection, here are a few troubleshooting guides to make your network function appropriately. This troubleshooting method can be done for your Windows 10 network reset:
1. In case you are experiencing difficulty connecting to the Internet, one of the quickest steps to takes is to first turn off your firewall to figure out if it is a firewall configuration problem or some other issue with your security setup system on the device.
2. You could similarly turn on and test each of your wireless adapters too to find out if the issues are isolated to a single connected device or whether they are common to all connected devices.
3. In case you have figured out issues with your router or access points you may switch from the Infrastructure mode to the ad hoc mode if you are trying to figure out configuration problems.
There is a need for you to carefully take precautions. After setting up your Wi-Fi network anyone nearby can easily access and make use of your network without you identifying such persons. With the incessant increase in the rate of cybercrimes, you stand the risk of your neighbors or any hacker nearby to have access to information on your device through accessing your network via your Wi-Fi installation. The possibility of using your network to commit atrocities on the internet without your consent which could implicate you and other dangers mentioned are the reasons you should secure your Wi-Fi.
Let’s go-ahead to consider some of the security tips recommended by the Federal Commission of Trade in their consumer information.
First, let’s talk about the Encryption of information you send over the Wi-Fi Network.
Just as it happens in real-life situations where you code information from the third party to secure your information from being accessed; you should do the same for all information you send through your wireless network. That is what encryption is and it prevents unauthorized users of your Wi-Fi network to have access to your information and correspondences. By encrypting your information, you send a code that it’s not accessible to others except for the intended recipient.
The Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) are the types of encryption you can use for your Wi-Fi. The WPA2 is considered the safest encryption type and it is highly recommended although this feature may only be available in new routers. Your Wi-Fi setup and your mobile devices must be encrypted the same way. Your Wi-Fi routers come with the encryption feature. So you could follow your device manuals on how to turn it on.
Second, you should put limits to addresses that have access to your network.
You can limit unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network by enabling the feature that makes your wireless routers allow only specific devices to access your wireless network. This is possible because every Wi-Fi enabled device has a specific Media Access Control (MAC) address. However, there is the tendency that addresses can be imitated so this is not a totally reliable way to secure your network.
Also, do a security set-up for your Wi-Fi router.
While discussing the components of your Wi-Fi hardware system, you figured how important your router is to the entire setup. This makes it imperative to secure your router. You can do this by following the simple steps below;
• Get a unique SSID (service set identifier or SSID) for your router and change it from the default manufacturer’s ID.
• Change your password(s). Just like the router’s identity that is unique to you, you should also change your router’s standard default password that allows you to initially set up the router. Default passwords can easily be accessed by anyone and do not fall for using simple or trace-able passwords. Also, all connected devices should have a unique password as well. Standard passwords usually comprise of up to 12 characters, comprising of upper and lower case alphabets, numbers and special characters.
Also, do not permit any form of remote access to your router. Your Wi-Fi routers come with features that allow remote access and control to your router such as enabling the manufacturer to have access to provide technical support for your Wi-Fi. Allowing this feature can allow unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network.
Another way to secure your router is to ensure that you update it regularly. In a bid to enhance software performance manufacturers usually develop their software, after which they issue firmware updates to ensure optimum satisfaction of the products. The same goes for your routers, you should always update the router to avoid experiencing software issues and for gaining access to security updates.
We have talked about the importance of Firewalls to your Wi-Fi network, ensure you deploy this feature on your router as well as other connected devices to safeguard against any form of dangerous intrusion from viruses, malware, etc.
Ensure you secure your network before granting mobile access. Since you can give access to mobile devices, you should ensure your network is properly secured with a standard password on any mobile application before accessing your network. Ensure you log out after using any mobile application.
BEST WIFI NBN PLANS
Depending on what your need is or what plan works for you, you may consider some of these factors to be considered as the best fixed NBN plans;
Firstly, you need to put your location; that is where you live into consideration and what obtains in your area. You will use this to figure out the type of broadband you need. That way, you will not need to pay for a plan you do not need.
Then, most of these plans come with the options for data limits. You should also decide whether you want a limited plan or an unlimited data plan. Of course, this will be largely dependent on your budget and data requirements. You may need to also make enquiries on how your network provider charges for additional usage.
Another important factor to consider is the intended duration of your broadband plans. Various plans have certain benefits and conditions that come with their range of durations. You may need to consider whether you would want a short or longer-term contract for your plan.
Like we also talked about in determining your network speed, you should consider your data usage. Placing your devices and data usage requirements into consideration may help you also effectively decide what plans suit you.
You may need to consult your friends and neighbors on the plans that work for them and understand why those plans suit them. This can also help you make proper decisions.
Recent reviews have highlighted the following plans as some of the best NBN plans that can work for you. You can make your findings on them and consider the above factors;
• Tangerine XL Speed Boost
• Mate NBN Wireless
• Tangerine Standard Unlimited
• NBN Wireless
• Aussie Broadband Fixed Wireless Plus
• SpinTel’s NBN Unlimited Plans
• Dodo Unlimited Fixed Wireless Plus Plan
• SkyMesh NBN Limitless Wireless
This list comprises plans that are majorly fast, unlimited with no contract term, and the best you could get for the prices they offer.
WIFI USERFUL TECHNOLOGY
As technology advances especially in terms of smart and automated devices, day in day out we have witnessed a rapid increase in the number of devices that can be run through a Wi-Fi network. Manufacturers constantly churn out various Wi-Fi devices that can give their users the best consumer experience. Here are some of the devices;
• WIFI ENABLED CAMERAS: Canon Power Shot ELPH 190, Rove R2-4k Dash Cam Built-in Wi-Fi GPS Car Dashboard Camera Recorder, among other security cameras like the Pet Cameras 1080P Wireless Security Camera, etc.
• WIFI ENABLED SPEAKERS: Most of the speakers produced today are Wi-Fi enabled and they offer good audio quality. For instance; Bose Home Speaker 500, Sonos One (Gen 2) Wireless Smart Speaker, Marshall Action II Wireless Multiroom Speaker, etc.
• WIFI ENABLED TV: There are Smart televisions that now have enabled wireless connections such as HISENSE 65 Inch Smart TV 4K Alexa Compatible, TOSHIBA Smart TV 43-Inch Wi-Fi and Dolby Sound, etc.
There are other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as Brilliant Control, Logitech Harmony Universal Remote Control, Wi-Fi Smart Plug, Power Strip, Doorbells, Thermostats among others.
This guide sets to address all you need to know on how the Wi-Fi network works, the basic understanding of your Wi-Fi devices, their speed, their hardware, security, plans, and other useful benefits of your Wi-Fi devices. The book is structured in chapters presented in a simple, brief but detailed approach. Each chapter provides a basic understanding of various topical issues relating to your Wi-Fi. A careful read-through of this guide is highly recommended for everyone who intends to get the most out of their Wi-Fi devices and connections.