What is Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity)?

What is Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity)?

WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity, and it is a wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that uses radio waves to provide network connectivity.

The standard is defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), also known as IEEE 802.11; this standard was published in 1997 and has been revised several times since then. The latest revision was published in September 2017 and has garnered “802.11ax.”

The 802.11ax standard includes numerous improvements over previous iterations of the 802.11 standard – these include a more comprehensive bandwidth range at higher rates, support for more significant numbers of users per access point or base station (BS), better battery life for portable devices using WiFi such as laptops or phones/tablets/etc.

Improved throughput performance with larger packets due to increased channel utilization (more bits per second), lower latency due to more efficient frame aggregation algorithms, etc.

How Does WiFi Works?

WiFi is short for wireless fidelity, a wireless networking technology that allows devices to communicate with each other over short distances.

WiFi uses radio waves to transmit data over short distances, connecting devices like laptops, smartphones, and other household items together in a local area network (LAN).

The most common frequency band for WiFi signals is the 2.4 GHz band or 5 GHz band, but others too, such as the 60 GHz range or 900 MHz.

WiFi vs. LAN

The main difference between WiFi and LAN is that the former uses radio waves and the latter uses cables.

This means that:

  • LAN is faster than WiFi because it doesn’t have to go through wireless routers or modems.
  • LAN is more secure than WiFi since you can hard-wire your computer’s network interface card (NIC) directly into your router, so there are no physical connections to be hacked like on a wireless network.
  • LAN is more expensive than WiFi because you’re essentially buying all new equipment (a NIC, cable modem/router combo, etc.).
  • Long distances can be achieved with LAN since it’s hard-wired and doesn’t have signal issues over distance like wireless devices do. However, short distances can be achieved with both types of networks as long as they are within range of each other!

Where is WiFi Primarily Used?

WiFi is used to connect devices to the internet. It allows you to get online on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone without needing a cable.

WiFi is great for networking and data sharing between computers and other devices.

Advantages of WiFi

WiFi is convenient because it allows you to connect to the internet without dealing with any wires. Setting up a wireless network is fast and easy and only takes a few minutes.

Because there’s no need for cables and wires, wireless devices can move around freely, which is great if you’re using your phone or tablet while on the couch or at work in another room.

It should also be noted that multiple devices can connect to one WiFi router—in fact, this is how most homes are set up these days!

Types of WiFi

There are several different types of WiFi. The most common are IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, and IEEE 802.11n.

For example:

  • IEEE 802.11a operates at 5 GHz and has a maximum data rate of 54 Mbps
  • IEEE 802.11b operates at 2.4 GHz and has a maximum data rate of 11 Mbps (or 1 Mbps for mobile devices)
  • IEEE 802.11g operates at 2.4 GHz like b but is backward compatible with b devices so that you can use your existing wireless router with this technology

Public WiFi vs. Private WiFi

Public Wi-Fi is a public connection that anyone can access in the same area, such as a coffee shop or an airport.

If you connect to a public network and use it to surf the web or email people, your data isn’t private.

Anyone else using that network could see what you’re doing on the internet or get access to any files you have stored on your computer’s hard drive.

Private Wi-Fi is a private connection that only authorized people can use, such as at home or work (if you have access). If someone else uses your private WiFi without permission, they won’t be able to access anything on your computer since they don’t have authorization.


The most important thing about WiFi is that it’s a technology, not a place. Although many people think of the Internet as being “in” the computer they’re using, it’s all around us.

We use WiFi every day in our homes and offices, but it’s also used outdoors by companies like Starbucks and Mcdonald’s (read more here) to give their customers free access to data.

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