How does wireless internet work?
Wireless internet transfers digital data using radio frequency. Wi-Fi is the leading wireless technology based on the IEEE 802.11 specifications. It allows a person with a Wi-Fi device, such as a laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) to connect to the internet via access points (AP). The region covered by one or several access points is called a hotspot.
Wi-Fi is useful for business travelers who need to get access to the internet in cafés, hotels and airports. For home users, a wireless router can connect a group of Wi-Fi enabled devices (e.g. multiple computers) to an adjacent wired network (such as a DSL or cable modem) to establish home networking.
Wireless internet service providers offer Wi-Fi hotspot network in many locations. The users can get online with a broadband speed up to 100 times faster than dialup. Free Wi-Fi networks are also available in many municipalities providing free hotspots and hotzones but these open access points may pose great security risks to novice users.
Advantages of Wi-Fi internet access:
- A network can be set up without cabling and wiring
- Economical networking solution
- Provides access to the internet in outdoor areas
- Roaming is supported. A user can move from one access point to another.
- A large number of hotspots are available worldwide
Disadvantages of Wi-Fi internet access:
- High power consumption rate for laptop computers
- Wireless encryption standard is easy to break
- Wi-Fi network has limited range
- Overlapping access points can interfere signal transmission
- Subject to security risks if wireless encryption is not enabled
- Internet connection speed of wireless network is lower than that of wired network