WHAT IS WIFI NETWORK?
Wi-Fi is the wireless technology used to connect computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices to the internet.
Wi-Fi is the radio signal sent from a wireless router to a nearby device, which translates the signal into data you can see and use. The device transmits a radio signal back to the router, which connects to the internet by wire or cable.
A WiFi network is simply an internet connection that’s shared with multiple devices in a home or business via a wireless router. The router is connected directly to your internet modem and acts as a hub to broadcast the internet signal to all your Wi-Fi enabled devices. This gives you flexibility to stay connected to the internet as long as you’re within your network coverage area.
FEATURES OF WIFI NETWORK
1. High Capacity Load Balancing
Wireless networks were originally planned for coverage only, but with all the smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. out there–today’s wireless networks must be planned for capacity.
With the increased demand on both your wireless and wired infrastructure, you must incorporate high capacity load balancing.
This means, when one access point is overloaded, the system will actively shift users from one access point to another depending on the capacity that is available.
The growth in popularity of new wireless devices will only continue to increase. Your network needs to have the ability to start small if necessary, but expand in terms of coverage and capacity as needed–without having to overhaul or build an entirely new network. Trust me, if you don’t need it now, you will need it later.
3. Network Management System
Modern day wireless networks are much more complex and may consist of hundreds or even thousands of access points, switches, firewalls, managed power and various other components.
You need to have a smarter way of managing the entire network from a centralized point. Deploying a network management system gives you that ability and so much more.
4. Role Based Access Control
Role based access control (RBAC) allows you to assign roles based on who, what, where, when and how a user or device is trying to access your network.
Once the role of the device or end-user is defined, access control policies or rules can be enforced.
5. Indoor as well as Outdoor coverage options
Although you may feel you only need indoor WiFi at first, its possible that later you might need to add outdoor coverage as well.
For example, to parking lots, courtyards, etc. It’s important that your wireless system has the capability of adding outdoor coverage, even after the fact.
6. The Ability to Measure Performance
With user expectations increasing, it’s critical that you’re continuously measuring performance from the end-users perspective. This means having the ability to see your end-users in real time, what type of devices they are using, what types of applications they are using, and the status of the different networking components that may affect the use of those devices. You should also have the ability to run proactive testing to help avoid potential problems before they happen.
7. Network Access Control
Whether you refer to it as mobile device registration or network access control, it is essential to have a secure method for registering and securing the devices that you don’t own.
Primarily, NAC controls the role of the user and enforces policies. Network access control can allow your users to register themselves to the network–a helpful feature that enhances the user experience.
8. Ability to communicate with both 2.4 GHz devices and 5 GHz devices
Baby scanners, blue tooth, microwaves, and many of today’s common use devices can interfere with users on 2.4 GHz devices–simply put, it’s a “crowded spectrum”. Since many devices still operate in that spectrum, you’ll need dual radio access points that can manage users on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time.
9. Web Content/Application Filtering
More than ever before, network security must become application aware in order to alleviate threats.
You should have application filtering in place in order to protect users from content that might contain malicious threats as well as to prevent possible performance issues.
10. Mobile Device Management
Think about how many mobile devices will be accessing your wireless network; now think about the thousands of applications you’re going to have running on those mobile devices.
How do you plan on managing all of this, especially as devices come and go from your business.
Mobile device management can provide control of how you will manage access to applications and programs. You can even remotely wipe the device if it’s lost or stolen.
11. Application Prioritization
Application prioritization is exactly what it sounds like; it’s the ability to guarantee performance levels to applications that you have selected as mission-critical.
This means your business can ensure that the applications that are most important to your operations have exactly what they need to function at a high-level, even as other less critical applications are accessing the network at the same time.
Without application prioritization there is no way to control the balance between business applications and recreational applications, and no way to ensure that your mission-critical processes and systems maintain the performance they need–in other words, it would be chaos.
You shouldn’t have to worry about dropped connections, slower speeds or any disruption in service as you move throughout your office or even from building to building—wireless needs to be mobile-first..
Mobile devices are just that, mobile, meaning your users will expect to maintain the same level of performance no matter where they are or if they are on the move.
Planning for WiFi today means planning for roaming. Roaming allows your end-users to successfully move from one access point to another without ever noticing a dip in performance.
For example, allowing a student to check their Facebook news-feed as they walk from one class to the next.
“Downtime” is a productivity and moral killer—if the WiFi goes down everything comes to a grinding stop.
The level or amount of redundancy your WiFi system requires depends on your specific environment and needs.
For example, a hospital environment will need a higher level of redundancy than say a coffee-shop, however, at the end of the day they both need to have a back-up plan in place.
14. Adaptive Radio Management
Technical expertise is both expensive and hard to find; it takes years of training and experience to know how to get it right—that’s time and money most businesses just don’t have.
Adaptive radio management or ARM, is like having an RF or WiFi expert on site that helps to maximize performance for your end-users.
It does this by collecting RF data from your access points and then using that data to make intelligent decisions about power levels, channels, air-time fairness, client-loads and even roaming.
*It should be noted that while ARM can be a powerful tool to help fix RF issues, it’s not a magic wand—nothing can replace having a proper wireless network design.
15. Proper Security Means Using the Right Firewall
Building an “air-tight” network doesn’t come down to just one component alone; it’s about many components all working together just right to keep your data and your end-users safe.
However, the backbone of that system is your network firewall For example, with the right firewall in place you’ll be able to:
- See and control both your applications and end-users
- Create the right balance between performance and security
- Reduce complexity with baked-in features such as:
- Anti-virus protection
- Spam filtering
- Deep packet inspection (DPI)
- Application filtering
- Protect your network and end-users against known and unknown threats including:
- Encrypted malware
- Malicious botnets
TYPES OF WIRELESS NETWORKS
Types of Wireless Networks
A network is a group of devices connected to one another. In the case of wireless networks, radio communication is usually the medium of choice. However, even within the radio-powered subset, there are dozens of different technologies designed for use at different scales, topologies, and for dramatically different use cases. One way to illustrate this difference is to partition the use cases based on their “geographic range”:
|Personal area network (PAN)
|Within reach of a person
|Cable replacement for peripherals
|Bluetooth, ZigBee, NFC
|Local area network (LAN)
|Within a building or campus
|Wireless extension of wired network
|IEEE 802.11 (WiFi)
|Metropolitan area network (MAN)
|Within a city
|Wireless inter-network connectivity
|IEEE 802.15 (WiMAX)
|Wide area network (WAN)
|Wireless network access
|Cellular (UMTS, LTE, etc.)
The preceding classification is neither complete nor entirely accurate. Many technologies and standards start within a specific use case, such as Bluetooth for PAN applications and cable replacement, and with time acquire more capabilities, reach, and throughput. In fact, the latest drafts of Bluetooth now provide seamless interoperability with 802.11 (WiFi) for high-bandwidth use cases. Similarly, technologies such as WiMAX have their origins as fixed-wireless solutions, but with time acquired additional mobility capabilities, making them a viable alternative to other WAN and cellular technologies.
The point of the classification is not to partition each technology into a separate bin, but to highlight the high-level differences within each use case. Some devices have access to a continuous power source; others must optimize their battery life at all costs. Some require Gbit/s+ data rates; others are built to transfer tens or hundreds of bytes of data (e.g., NFC). Some applications require always-on connectivity, while others are delay and latency tolerant. These and a large number of other criteria are what determine the original characteristics of each type of network. However, once in place, each standard continues to evolve: better battery capacities, faster processors, improved modulation algorithms, and other advancements continue to extend the use cases and performance of each wireless standard.
What does Wi-Fi stand for?
Wi-Fi, often referred to as WiFi, wifi, wi-fi or wi fi, is often thought to be short for Wireless Fidelity but there is no such thing. The term was created by a marketing firm because the wireless industry was looking for a user-friendly name to refer to some not so user-friendly technology known as IEEE 802.11. And the name stuck.
How does Wi-Fi work?
Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit data from your wireless router to your Wi-Fi enabled devices like your TV, smartphone, tablet and computer. Because they communicate with each other over airwaves, your devices and personal information can become vulnerable to hackers, cyber-attacks and other threats. This is especially true when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network at places like a coffee shop or airport. When possible, it’s best to connect to a wireless network that is password-protected or a personal hotspot.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF WIFI OR WIRELESS NETWORK
Advantages of Wifi
- Convenience– The wireless nature of such networks allow users to access network resources from nearly any convenient location within their primary networking environment
(a home or office). With the increasing saturation of laptop-style computers, this is particularly relevant.
- Mobility– With the emergence of public wireless networks, users can access the internet even outside their normal work environment. Most chain coffee shops, for example, offer their customers a wireless connection to the internet at little or no cost.
- Productivity– Users connected to a wireless network can maintain a nearly constant affiliation with their desired network as they move from place to place. For a business, this implies that an employee can potentially be more productive as his or her work can be accomplished from any convenient location.
- Deployment– Initial setup of an infrastructure-based wireless network requires little more than a single access point. Wired networks, on the other hand, have the additional cost and complexity of actual physical cables being run to numerous locations (which can even be impossible for hard-to-reach locations within a building).
- Expandability– Wireless networks can serve a suddenly-increased number of clients with the existing equipment. In a wired network, additional clients would require additional wiring.
- Cost– Wireless networking hardware is at worst a modest increase from wired counterparts. This potentially increased cost is almost always more than outweighed by the savings in cost and labor associated to running physical cables.
Disadvantages of Wifi
- Security– To combat this consideration, wireless networks may choose to utilize some of the various encryption technologies available. Some of the more commonly utilized encryption methods, however, are known to have weaknesses that a dedicated adversary can compromise.
- Range– The typical range of a common 802.11g network with standard equipment is on the order of tens of meters. While sufficient for a typical home, it will be insufficient in a larger structure. To obtain additional range, repeaters or additional access points will have to be purchased. Costs for these items can add up quickly.
- Reliability– Like any radio frequency transmission, wireless networking signals are subject to a wide variety of interference, as well as complex propagation effects that are beyond the control of the network administrator.
- Speed– The speed on most wireless networks (typically 1-54 Mbps) is far slower than even the slowest common wired networks (100Mbps up to several Gbps). However, in specialized environments, the throughput of a wired network might be necessary.
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