How Does Wifi Work

How does WiFi work? If you connect to the Internet through a laptop, chances are you're using a WiFi connection. "WiFi" is a pun on the term "Hi-Fi" and doesn't actually stand for wireless fidelity, as it is often mislabeled. It is a term that has come to incorporate all wireless LAN connections. So, how does WiFi bring the Internet to you without any wires? Let's take a look.

WiFi Signals: WiFi works a lot like the radio. In fact, WiFi uses radio waves to transmit signals through the air, except WiFi broadband transmits signals at a much higher frequency than radios can. This allows for more information to be transferred over a wireless network, making it ideal for Internet communications.

The Modem: When you connect to the Internet without wireless, your computer needs to be connected to a modem through an Ethernet cable. The modem is what sends and receives information from your computer to the Internet. It decodes the digital signal so your computer can understand it.

The Router: To set up a wireless connection, you need a wireless router. A wireless router connects to the modem and sends the digital signal through an antenna by the way of radio waves. The radio waves are interpreted by your computer's wireless card, which acts as an antenna itself. The wireless router eliminates the need to connect your computer directly to the modem.

Known Issues: Since WiFi works by utilizing high frequency radio waves, it does have its shortcomings. Naturally, the radio waves can only travel so far. The farther you travel from a wireless router, the weaker the signal becomes. Any home WiFi service should have no problem covering the area of your house. However, the signal might also reach your neighbors, so it's a good idea to password protect your wireless LAN. Too many moochers will slow down your connection.

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