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Wi-Fi Demystified

Written by Cory Cannon | Find me on: LinkedIn


The Magic, That Is Wi-Fi

Teeeeee-rerererenet-net-net-net…..net-net-net

Wi-Fi? Don’t you miss the dial-up sound computers used to make when trying to connect to the internet?

Don’t you miss the excitement, frustration, anguish, and relief dialing-up used to bring you?

No? Who does?

Technology has come a long way. The cyber world is now easily accessible through computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, cameras, watches, TVs, refrigerators, and whatever else you see in the appliance store. If they can put Wi-Fi on it, they will if they haven’t already. We are so used to living in this fast-paced age that most of us don’t even bat an eye on Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators. The internet has had a huge make-over in a decade. It has been a vital tool for survival – for work, entertainment, and, most importantly, keeping the kids quiet for a few minutes over new gaming apps.

What is Wi-Fi and how does it work?

Wi-Fi, also called wireless fidelity by people who want to sound smart, is actually a trademarked phrase. Surprisingly, the group that trademarked this phrase is called the Wi-Fi Alliance. They define Wi-Fi as the IEEE 802.11 (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.11) standards. These standards are the basis for any type of network or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) project.

Your brand new TV connects to the internet through a wireless access point. Wi-Fi uses radio waves rather than cables to connect us – making stapling cables to the walls an almost obsolete ritual. The access point’s job is to broadcast the wireless signal that Wi-Fi enabled devices can connect through. These devices should, and must be equipped with wireless network adapters. Maybe you can bring your old convex TV to the shop and have an adapter installed.

Since you don’t need a physical connection to access Wi-Fi, it can be considered less secure than wired connections. Wi-Fi has adopted different types of securities and various encryption technologies to address this. The earlier encryption, WEP, wasn’t secure enough so higher quality protocols were added, namely WPA and WPA2. These new protocols make it a little bit harder for intruders to get in. An optional feature was added called Wi-Fi Protected Set-Up or WPS, which allows you to connect to the network without the use of a password (with a push of a button), but this feature proved to have a serious flaw as it allows intruders to recover the password.

In a few years, coming up with creative Wi-Fi names (ex: “Trojan Virus” and “Bring Me Pizza and I’ll Give You The Password”) may become as nostalgic as the dial-up sound. For now, you can take pride in sitting down in your favourite café and asking if they are wireless fidelity compliant.

Topics: Corporate Technology

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