In today’s technological culture the term Wi-Fi is omnipresent and almost every device intended to connect to the internet has corresponding hardware. In the following chapters the components of this transmission standard will be examined and the basic concepts explained. The specifications and changes to this standard are extensive and therefore only the most important aspects are considered. The information originates from the IEEE standardization committee and two independent and recently published books. The standard will be explained, followed by the historical details and the protocol changes over time. After this the actual use and functionality is described and in the end will be a look at future trends.
The IEEE 802.11 standard
In today’s technological culture the term Wi-Fi is omnipresent and almost every device intended to connect to the internet has corresponding hardware. But the term Wi-Fi, standing as a synonym to wireless internet in general English, is actually well-defined. The term Wi-Fi is based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 standards. But because the IEEE is not involved in verification and testing the Wi-Fi Alliance had to be created. Wi-Fi is now trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance and only products that pass the interoperability certification test are allowed use their logo. This ensures that all devices from different manufactures will successfully work together.
As Perahia explains, the first draft of the now known 802.11 standard took seven years of development and its first version was ratified in 1997 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The adaption of the new technology was slow, as there were very little devices...
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...ecting devices to a network, has recently been determined as a flawed security standard that can be used to gain access to the network.
Another important factor is reliability which is not guaranteed. It is very simple to deliberately interfere with wireless connections, but even without malicious attempt this is a common issue. Microwaves for example have a strong impact, but also depending on other Wi-Fi devices in close proximity the data rate can decrease immensely.
With the wireless transmission standard 802.11 originating from IEEE, which is often just called Wi-Fi access to the internet has simplified drastically. The key points to its success are the continuous improvement and adaptions to changing demands but also the ease of use accomplished by the interoperability of different devices and also the backward compatibility of each new extension.