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.