The Wonderful World Of WiFi

Did you know that unlike HiFi, which is the short form for High Fidelity, WiFi is definitely not the short form for Wireless Fidelity. We've had HiFi for decades, and WiFi is a far more recent invention ...

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the registered trademark for WiFi, specifically defines Wi-Fi as, "Wireless local area network products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' 802.11 standards.".

"There we have it ... clear as mud!"

Some days I have customers phoning me and saying, "my WiFi is not working" and what they actually mean is that the internet connection is down. Some days I get, "The Internet is down" when actually, the internet is active and the WiFi signal is poor from the device to the router, a local Access Point (APs) or WiFi Extender.

There are literally hundreds of devices that transmit WiFi signals and the main use is that WiFi hardware allows wireless transmission of data to and from a smartphone, smart speaker, tablet, smart TV and many other Internet-connected devices ... without the need for a cable.

The most common transmission device is the WiFi-enabled router which is connected to your broadband connection. The reason for so many access points and extenders on the market is due to the range of the in-built WiFi chip in a router.

Most routers are not in a central position in the house to send the signal out evenly and are usually located at one end of the premises and the signal is required at the other end of the property. When most people expect to simply connect via WiFi and have unlimited internet access, even the smallest problem with the signal can cause frustration.

There are literally thousands of WiFi signals floating around in the air and they only work on a range of 14 frequencies, not all of which can be used, depending on your country's regulations!

So, there's a huge potential for signal clashes. Routers and extenders would need to be adjusted to a different frequency to your neighbours' to help get a clean signal. This need has led to the explosion of MESH technology.

"Having tested several mesh kits, they do what they say on the tin!"

A master transmitter plugs in by cable to your router and substitutes the WiFi signal to its own. The slave units receive that signal and spread it out evenly to create a single network that covers a far greater area than the WiFi on the router can on its own.

The other advancement in WiFi technology has been the creation of the 5GHz band, in addition to the existing 2.4GHz one. Many common consumer devices are not equipped to pick up both frequencies to help load balance of WiFi transmitting equipment.

On a commercial and business basis, MESH systems allow whole buildings to be 'flooded' with access points with the same identification names and single passwords (but can still have company and guest access rights) so that users can stay connected wherever they are on the premises.

A single commercial-grade access point can cope with over a hundred (up to two hundred in some cases) simultaneous connections. The only funnel effect of experiencing a slow connection may be that the internet connection serving the building may not have enough bandwidth to support them all.

"Slow WiFi is very often down to the broadband connection!"

Here at BTS (UK), we carry out surveys to check the surrounding interference levels from other WiFi signals to understand the problems you're having. Whether you're at home or at your business premises, we can help you.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.