The wireless solutions considered here are those that conform to the WiFi standard and are most commonly used for providing wireless internet access and wireless communication between devices on local area networks within domestic and business premises.
In some situations, WiFi can also be a very cost-effective way of creating long distance point-to-point or point-to-multi-point connections between premises that can be up to 10 km apart.
One advantage of WiFi over other wireless technologies such as microwave, satellite or two-way radio is that there is no requirement for users of WiFi devices to apply for a licence. Instead, WiFi devices must comply with a class licence which specifies parameters such as maximum power output and frequency.
WiFi is a worldwide standard with only slight variations from country to country.
The first WiFi standard was 802.11b. This was followed by 802.11g and 802.11n.
Each successive standard offers better speed, data throughput and reliability than the previous standard.
The latest standard for WiFi is known as 802.11ac.
The 802.11ac WiFi standard operates only in the 5Ghz band, but many 802.11ac wireless access points and wireless routers are dual-band devices that will also work on the 2.4Ghz 802.11n standard which is in turn backward compatible with earlier standards.
The 802.11ac standard can support data transmission rates of up to 7 Gbit/s, but most devices will support transmission rates of about 1 Gbit/s. The actual data rate achieved automatically reduces as the signal quality deteriorates due to factors such as distance and obstructions such as walls.
Although WiFi enables the creation of wireless local area networks, WiFi is primarily used for enabling internet access in homes or offices for laptops, tablets and smart-phones. It is also used as an easy means of providing internet access to other devices such as games consoles, televisions and an increasing number of household appliances.
An example of a WiFi device that does not require internet access, but benefits from being connected wirelessly to a local area network is a printer. WiFi capable printers can be located anywhere within range of a wireless access point enabling any PC, laptop or any other device that is connected to the local area network to access the printer.
Public WiFi “hotspots” are also provided in pubs, restaurants, airport lounges, holiday parks and other public spaces to provide internet access to customers with laptops, tablet computers and smart-phones.
Long Distance WiFi
WiFi can also be used as a low-cost means of creating point-to-point or point-to-multipoint long distance communications links that are significantly cheaper than alternatives such as cabling or other wireless technologies such as microwave.
When WiFi is used for long-distance point-to-point connections it is necessary to use antennae that transmit the signal in a highly focussed directional beam rather than the omni-directional antennae that are typically used by standard wireless access points or routers.
An example of a point-to-point WiFi connection would be one that connects two buildings that are several kilometres apart. This type of WiFi connection can be used to create a cost-effective high capacity communications link that supports both phone and data communications.
When creating WiFi networks it is important to consider carefully the issue of security.
WiFi networks are inherently insecure since any WiFi device can in theory connect to the network and “see” the traffic transmitted by all other devices on the same network.
It is important therefore for users to be aware of the security risk and for WiFi network managers to implement effective security policies using access codes and encryption.
On this website we feature a range of WiFi solutions including:
To find out more about these solutions just click on the appropriate link above.
Get in touch with us if you have a specific requirement or if you wish to discuss how your business could make better and more cost-effective use of its existing telecommunications and internet infrastructure and services.