In Part 1 of this series we got to know some truths and lies about Wi-Fi.  We continue the journey to understanding this critical utility that we can no longer live without by looking at the meaning of Wi-Fi specific words.

The language of Wi-Fi can be difficult to navigate especially when trying to troubleshoot or shop for equipment.  Like all industries, marketers take liberties with the definition of words to grab attention and make a sale.  Here are the basics to understand first.

Wi-Fi: simply defined as wireless network.  It is what enables devices to access the internet without a cable.

Modem: hardware component that converts data.  This device converts the analog internet signal to digital data that a computer understands.  It also does the reverse converting the digital data from the computer back to an analog internet signal.

Router: network device that forwards data packets from one network to another over a wire or using radio waves.  This enables many devices to share the same internet access.

Access Point: a piece of hardware through which devices gain internet access wirelessly.

Coverage: term used to describe how far wireless signals reach at a satisfactory strength.

Interference: disruption or noise that negatively impacts wireless signals.

WPA, WPA2, WEP: wireless communication encryption standards to secure data between devices and the access point.

ISP: internet service provider.  The entity that delivers access to the internet for a fee.

2.4 GHz & 5 GHz: radio wave frequencies used for wireless communication.  2.4 GHz has a long range but transmits data at slower speeds.  5 GHz covers less range at faster speeds, but the higher frequency will not travel through solid objects.

Dual Band Router: communicates on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.

Repeater/Extender: wireless device that receives signals and re-transmits them to cover a larger area.

Ethernet cable: wire that connects the modem and the router through which data travels.

Firewall: a layer of security implemented at the router.

We have learned some truths & lies and gotten a better understanding of what the words mean.  In Part 3 we will examine the home network in more detail and understand how it is performing today.

Return to In the News

Wi-Fi Dependency Series - Introduction

Wi-Fi Dependency Series - Part 1

Wi-Fi Dependency Series - Part 3

Wi-Fi Dependency Series - Part 4


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