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Nowadays WiFi has become an essential component of our life. It has become crucial to the extent that sometimes its absence makes us feel restless .If we take a step back in time, we could not have even imagined sharing and receiving data through our devices and that too without using wired connections. And the thought of using facebook , youtube etc. could not had even run through one’s mind. This all seemed quite surreal back then. But today it has become an absolute reality and we are able to send and receive data using wireless medium. This is not even similar to the case of radios or televisions where the signals from outside world used to reach our devices and then we were in a position to listen or see them. Whereas today we just need to switch on the WiFi device to access internet.
What is WiFi ?
WiFi is a cable elimination technology that is mainly used for internet access and local area networking .It simply means wireless internet.It is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards.This concept was introduced nearly twenty years ago i.e in 1998.Generally WiFi operates at 2.4 GHz and 5Ghz frequency.When it operates at 2.4GHz frequency it is able to send data at larger distances but the speed is slightly less.And when it operates at 5GHz frequency it is able to send data rapidly but at shorter distances.If a user wants access to a particular WiFi network then a network name and password is required.WiFi works at extremely low voltages and uses non-iodizing radiation wavelengths which are not that harmful.
How WiFi works ?
Most of us use WiFi in our laptops,desktop computers,smartphones etc.But have you ever wondered how does WiFi actually work ? Well ….working of WiFi is quite simple and interesting. You must have heard about electromagnetic waves like infrared waves, micro waves, radio waves, Ultraviolet rays, gamma rays etc. Now you must be wondering , What Wifi has to do with these waves.
Wifi indeed has a lot to do with these waves , because it is the radio waves on which, this technology depends.We all know that wireless internet allows us to send various files,audios ,images,videos etc. and guess what …..this is all done throudh radiowaves.With the help of radio waves Wifi transmits data between the source and the destination.
Consider the following realistic example to interpret it better.If you throw a stone in a pond or river , the whirls originate at the point where the stone exactly falls and expands towards the shore.The same concept is applicable here in WiFi.The wave signals originate at the device and spread across ,so that the user can use them.Anyone within the suitable range can access those signals.In order to limit the access to only the intended users, the signals needs to be encrypted.
It might be true that we cannot see the data that is being exchanged through WiFi, but how does this data gets transmitted without using any cable ?The devices we typically use include smartphones,tablets,computers,laptops etc. And these devices don’t understand whether you are listening music,watching movie or doing some other work.All they could understand is a binary language.(i.e in the form of 0’s and 1’s).
So when you turn on any of these device and switch on the WiFi, the entire information that needs to be exchanged is broken down into binary codes.And when you access some kind of data through WiFi the corresponding binary codes are transformed into wave frequencies. Let’s say you want to send an image to your friend.So when you click on the send option,the image is chopped down into many small packets and is sent to the destination with the help of routers . When the packets arrive at the desired destination they need to be reassembled in order to get the original image that was sent by the source device.
Majority of the manufacturers prefer to build the WiFi interfaces directly into the motherboards of the devices ,because the nature of WiFi is quite ubiquitous and the cost of hardware required to support that ,is getting minimized day by day .The channels being used for transmission are generally half duplex , this means that the data bandwidth is shared by the devices involved in transmission of data.When two stations attempt to send data at the same time , then collision may occur. So to resolve this issue of collision Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance(CSMA/CA) scheme is employed.