Let’s talk about WiFi

One of the most obvious impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is how reliant we have all become on connectivity, particularly wireless connectivity. For most of us, the combination of a fast broadband connection along with a solid WiFi wireless network inside our home has made the difference between being able to work, attend classes, and enjoy entertainment on a consistent, reliable basis.

So what is WiFi?

Have you ever stopped to consider how e-mail or streaming video gets into your smartphone or tablet so quickly, seamlessly, and in real time? That’s WiFi in action. Let’s explore the technology behind wireless devices.

First, let’s cover some of the basics. WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is the same thing as saying WLAN which stands for “Wireless Local Area Network.”

WiFi works off the same principal as other wireless devices – it uses radio frequencies to send signals between devices. The radio frequencies are completely different to walky talkies, car radios, cell phones, and weather radios. For example your car stereo receives frequencies in Kilohertz and Megahertz range (AM and FM stations), while WiFi transmits and receives data in the Gigahertz range.

For WiFi this frequency happens to be 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. These waves are very similar to the frequency found in your microwave! Your microwave uses 2.450Ghz to heat up food and your router uses 2.412 GHz to 2.472 GHz to transmit your data over WiFi. This is why some people with old or faulty microwaves experience a problem with their router signal when they try to make popcorn.

Just to clear up a popular misconception: These microwaves are non-ionizing radiation. That means that they do not cause cancer. That’s right kids, microwaves will not make you radioactive and glow in the dark!

WiFi Routers & Modems

Things to Consider Before Installing Home Wireless Router

The WiFi signal range of any given modem varies significantly from device to device. Factors that determine the range of your WiFi router can provide include: the specific 802.11 protocol it runs the strength of its device transmitter the nature of physical obstructions and/or radio interference in the surrounding area WiFi routers operating on 2.4 GHz band reach approximately 46 m indoors and 92 m outdoors. Older routers that run on a 5 GHz band reach approximately one-third of these distances. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac modems that operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands vary in their reach similarly. Physical obstructions in homes such as brick walls and metal frames or siding can reduce the range of a WiFi network by 25% or more.

In addition to the modem you are using, the devices you access the WiFi network with can also vary in performance. Some devices have better antennas or wireless capability than others. For example, a laptop WiFi antenna will likely give better performance than an iPad or Smartphone.

WiFi Range Explained

Get Started with Interconnect Systems

If you found this article to be insightful and have any questions or problems with your current network at home or the office please contact us or at the sales office at nationalsales@interconnect.co.za

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