We discuss the following topics in this blog:
- What is WiFi?
- How Does WiFi work?
- Types of WiFi Deployments
- What is WiFi 6?
- Difference between WiFi-6 and previous generations
- How is STL transforming the Wifi-Space?
In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following WiFi FAQs:
- What does WiFi mean?
- What is Wireless LAN (WLAN)?
- Who invented the WiFi?
- What is WiFi-enabled?
- What is a wireless access point?
- What is a wireless router?
- What is the difference between WiFi and the internet?
- Does Wifi 6 require new hardware?
- Is Wifi 6 backward compatible?
- Who wins the battle of Ethernet vs Wi-Fi 6?
Wi-Fi or wireless fidelity is ingrained into our everyday lives. Let us take you on a journey of what it means, how does it work. Did you know that wireless fidelity has gone through several generations since its inception in 1999? In this post, we will look at what WiFi is all about, how it works, the many types of WiFi, the several generations that have been released, and how STL is revolutionizing the WiFi landscape.
What is WiFi?
WiFi is a colloquial term denoting wireless fidelity, not an abbreviation. It is a wireless local area network technology that uses radio waves to access or connect to a network. This may be used on a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones, televisions, video game consoles, and so on. Simply speaking, it provides a standard way to connect with wireless networking. The WiFi network is based on 802.11 standards developed by IEEE. It is trademarked by the Wi-fi alliance and used as a brand name for products using IEEE 802.11 WiFi standards.
How does WiFi work?
Have you ever wondered how wireless gadgets communicate with one another? The simple answer is to use WiFi technology. Signals are transmitted to various devices via radio waves. The receiving device must be configured to receive waves of a specific frequency. The WiFi frequency range is 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. This is a higher frequency than those used for walkie-talkies, mobile phones, TVs. This higher WiFi frequency range allows signals to carry more data.
Let us explain the process of how WiFi really works:
- A chord, usually a fiber cable or analog line. This connects an internet source, like a broadband mode.
- The WiFi router is the medium that receives the internet connection via a wide area network (WAN) port.
- The WiFi router gives off wireless signals via radio waves to a card or an adapter in a computer, phone, or other devices to establish two-way communication.
Source: Waves WiFi.
Types of Wi-Fi Deployments
Typically, there are three types of wireless networking systems deployed. It is important to understand the suitability of each WiFi network for effective deployment:
Centralized Deployment – When there is a cluster of buildings and networks that are close to each other, a wireless network system is deployed centralized. Because the controllers are situated in a central area, this configuration consolidates wireless networks. Centralized deployment is commonly used on campuses because it is easier to upgrade and enable enhanced wireless functionality from a single location.
Converged Deployment – Using an access switch, this sort of deployment combines wired and wireless networks into a single device. The access switch serves as both a switch and a wireless controller, ensuring that users’ wired and wireless connections are consistent. This type of network system is typically used by businesses with branch offices.
Cloud-based Deployment – The cloud is used to manage network devices in this deployment. Dashboards are used to manage devices in various places. Due to the utilization of cloud services, all devices are visible to anybody with access to the dashboard.
The WiFi Service Management Platform, developed by STL, is a future-ready platform that includes Authentication, Billing, Captive Portal, Location-aware Services, Subscriber Analytics, Mobile App, and Integration with Mobile Core. The solution is incredibly user-friendly, and it enables new business models as well as a variety of ready-to-use use cases for smart cities and telecom carriers. These technologies have a significant presence among service providers and have been deployed in over 3500 WiFi networks in over 60 countries, including smart cities, hotels, airports, and other public WiFi hotspots.
Wi-Fi has expanded its reach to clients in all categories with extensible services and the most recent business models. This extraordinary increase in data consumption has yielded proven results, demonstrating a strong ability to provide continuous connectivity and a seamless experience, everywhere and at any time. STL’s WiFi deployment solutions and the benefits can be read here.
What is WiFi 6?
As technology refines itself, newer generations come into being. Wifi 6 is the newest standard in WiFi. The newest version of WiFi standards is 802.11ax (WiFi-6) and is an upgrade over the previous standard, which is 802.11ac (WiFi-5). This upgraded standard, Wifi 6, is mainly for compatible devices (like routers) to transmit wifi signals more efficiently. Wifi 6 was built in response to the growing number of devices in the world, and to improve performance in high network densities like apartments with multiple routers or outdoor stadiums. The term Wifi 6 was coined by WiFi Alliance as an industry designation and seen as a consumer-friendly name over its industry-standard name of 802.11ax.
Is Wi-Fi 6 really that fast?
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is an upgraded standard over its previous version with better speed (upload and download) being one of the features. WiFi 6 can achieve a maximum throughput (download speed) of 9.6Gbps across multiple channels compared to 3.5 Gbps in WiFi-5.
The important thing to remember is that a single WiFi 6 laptop linked to a WiFi 6 router will only be somewhat faster than a single WiFi 5 laptop connected to a WiFi5 router. WiFi6 is all about upgrading the network as more devices connect to it. WiFi 6 often maintains robust connections even when several devices connect and seek data.
We can see how Intel has listed out WiFi 6 capabilities:
“Works 4 times better in dense environments, has a much higher data download speed (throughput), increases network efficiency 4 times over, has extended battery life.”
Difference between WiFi-6 and previous generations
A quick comparison of the different Wifi generations is given in the table below:
|Standard||Other Name||Available Year||Single-stream Speed (via highest channelwidth)||Operating Channels||Freqyency Bands||Status|
|802.11b||–||1999||11 Mbps||20 MHz||2.4 GHz||obsolete|
802.11n or Wireless N
|Wifi 4||2009||150 |
|20 HMHz / 40 MHz||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz||Legacy|
|20 HMHz / 40 MHz / 80 MHz||5GHz||Mainstream|
|–||2015||Up to 7 |
|2.16 GHz||60GHz||Limited use|
|20 HMHz / 40 MHz / 80 MHz / 160 MHz||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz||Latest|
- Performance and reliability for streaming capabilities of a number of devices simultaneously.
- Greater range of wifi signal. Devices used at the edge of the wifi range (more than 350 feet) will still have decent wifi connectivity because the network will send a stronger signal to those edge devices.
- Wifi 6 automatically includes a new protocol called WPA3 which enables the network to be more secure. WPA3 is tough for hackers, as passwords are very secure and data is encrypted and rendered useless for them.
How is STL transforming the Wifi-Space? Wifi-Applications in Real Life
STL has created a future-ready platform, the Wifi Service Management Platform, consisting of Authentication, Billing, Captive Portal, Location-aware Services, Subscriber Analytics, Mobile App, and Integration with Mobile Core. The solution is extremely user-friendly and supports new business models along with various ready use cases for smart cities and telecom operators. These solutions have a sizeable presence among service providers and are deployed in over 3500+ wifi network connections in over 60 countries including smart cities, hotels, airports, and other public Wifi hotspots.
Through new mobile techniques, STL is also revolutionizing enterprises that measure business KPIs. Wifi Roaming solutions and LTE-Wifi interworking are two of the WiFi-linked solutions offered by STL.
“STL has a Wifi Service Management Platform (SMP) and Monetization Framework, which caters to the varied needs of Service Providers, Operators, ISPs, Cable operators, Smart City Initiatives, MVNOs, Public Venue owners to easily launch Public Wifi services, Mobile Data offload to Wifi and innovative monetization services”. One can read about STL’s solutions in the WiFi space here.
What does wifi mean?
It is a wireless local area network technology that allows one to connect to a network using radio waves. This can be used on various devices like computers, smartphones, and TVs, video game consoles, etc. The Wifi network is based on 802.11 standards developed by IEEE. It is a nickname for wireless fidelity.
What is Wireless LAN (WLAN)?
At a broader level, Wifi (wireless fidelity) and WLAN (wireless LAN) are the same things. They both use wireless network technology that can connect and exchange data at high speed to various devices. However, technically, wifi is a type of WLAN. Wifi is a wireless standard and WLAN is a wireless network used in the local area network.
Who invented the wifi?
Vic Hayes is popularly referred to as the “Father of wifi”. In 1997, he chaired the IEEE committee that created the 802.11 standards – the standards defining wifi. However, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) of Australia created a chip that greatly improved the signal quality of wireless fidelity. Accordingly, the group of scientists, namely, Dr. John O’Sullivan, Dr. Terry Percival, Mr. Diet Ostry, Mr. Graham Daniels, and Mr. John Deane are credited to be the inventors of wifi.
What is WiFi-enabled?
Whenever a device sends and receives wireless signals through a wifi network, the device is called wifi enabled. Wifi-enabled devices can connect to the internet through an available wifi network.
What is a wireless access point?
A wireless access point or WAP is a hardware device that helps different wireless networks to connect. WAPs allow connectivity between devices and the internet. WAPs in conjunction with the wireless router help provide wifi throughout an average house.
What is a wireless router?
A wireless router is a device that connects local networks or enables the internet to transmit wifi signals to devices. Usually, a wireless router has a built-in wireless access point to enable providing wifi. The wireless router or wifi router is a device having the functions of a router and a WAP.
What is the difference between WiFi and the internet?
Let us understand the basic differences between wifi and the internet:
Wifi is a wireless network to connect local area devices. Internet is a global network, connecting computers globally. Wifi uses radio waves to send/receive data. Internet uses a defined TCP/IP protocol router to transmit data between computers. Wifi needs routers for connecting devices. For the internet, modems, routers, switches are required for connecting.
Does Wifi 6 require new hardware?
Each Wifi generation is based on new hardware and software. Hence it means that for Wifi6 accessibility, one will have to buy new devices (computers, phones, etc). Devices, including routers, will need to be Wifi 6 compatible to reap the benefits of Wifi 6.
Is Wifi 6 backward compatible?
Yes, Wifi 6 is backward compatible. This means that previous standards of wifi devices can be used on a wifi 6 network.
Who wins the battle of Ethernet vs Wi-Fi 6?
Speed: Ethernet has a maximum speed of 100 Gbps, whereas Wifi 6 has 1.2 Gbps of max speed.
Latency: Ethernet is a wired network, hence does not have any interference from various devices. Wifi 6, being wireless may face such interferences and accordingly have issues in latency.
Convenience: Connecting cables is always more troublesome. Hence convenience lies in Wifi 6 over Ethernet.
In a nutshell, Ethernet is useful if one is looking for consistent data transfer and minimum external interference. Whereas, Wifi 6 is better if one does not want to encounter cabling hassles to set up the network connection.