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  1. 1. Wi-FiThe basic system of WiFi is very simple. In a WiFi enabled network, computers with WiFi cardsconnect wirelessly to an access point or router. This access point or router is internet enabled theusual way, connected to the internet using a cable or DSL modem. Any PC or laptop with a WiFi card,which is within a radius of 200 feet (60 meters) from the access point can access internet. However adistance of 100 feet (30 meters) is considered ideal for good quality access. An area surrounding anaccess point, providing wireless access, is called a wireless hotspot.The TechnologyThe technology used in WiFi is easiest to understand in terms of radio. It is quite similar to walkie-talkies, the only difference being in the strength of signals. An ordinary walkie-talkie can handle onlylimited data in the range of 1000 bits per second, and operate at 49 MHz. In the case of WiFi radios,the signal strength is much more, so they can handle much higher data rates. WiFi radios typicallyoperate at a frequency of 2.4GHz.There are three versions of WiFi radios currently available- the ones that work with 802.11b, 802.11gand 802.11a standards. While the first two- 802.11b and 802.11g- transmit 2.4 GHz, the radiosoperating at 802.11a standard can transmit at 5GHz.Another important feature of the WiFi radios that enables higher data rates is the coding techniquesused. The 802.11a and 802.11g standard radios use Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing(OFDM) technique while the 802.11b uses Complementary Code Keying (CCK) technique.Due to the higher frequencies and the encoding techniques, WiFi radios can transmit a very highamount of data per second. The 802.11a and 802.11g standard radios transfer between 30-54megabits per second and the 802.11b standard typically conveys 7-11 megabits per second.The WiFi Alliance has developed certification standards for laptops and other electronic gadgets likePDAs. Most of these appliances are today WiFi certified. This means that these gadgets areinteroperable regardless of the brand.The BenefitsThe technology of WiFi was developed to enhance the convenience and increased productivity thatportable computing and communication systems ushered in. In todays scenario, the workforce movesabout a lot on business. They typically carry laptops, PDAs and other gadgets and need to access theoffice network from wherever they are. WiFi is a hassle-free, cost effective and quicker way ofdeploying a network. It also makes greater flexibility possible.A WiFi enabled work environment helps workers to stay connected for longer and even interact withthe co-workers effortlessly.Security- The Risk FactorA wireless access point has the risk that anyone can access the information if they get within anaccessible distance. Therefore it is important to take security precautions while setting up a WiFinetwork in your organization. The degree of security depends on the nature of information yourorganization handles. If it is highly sensitive information, you will need to go for customized security
  2. 2. measures.WiFi, or Wireless Fidelity, is a technology standard developed in 1997 by the Institute of Electricaland Electronics Engineers (IEEE). WiFi is all about high speed wireless internet access. In todaysscenario, workers typically move about a lot and need to operate from several stations other thantheir office cabin. As gadgets like laptops and PDAs were developed to meet this need, it was alsonecessary to develop wireless internet technologies to enhance their function. This is where WiFicomes in.WiFi is FastWiFi typically offers much faster internet access than cable and DSL connections, a definiteadvantage for businesses. The high speed is also useful when youre on the move. There is apromise of enhanced productivity here.WiFi is ConvenientYou can access internet from your Wi-Fi enabled device from wherever you are, as long as you arewithin range of a base station or source. Thus the workers can move about with their gadgets fromtheir cabin down the corridor to the conference room all without losing connection. You can alsoaccess your companys network from your own laptop or PDA, even when you are in another place,like a business associates office, a hotel or convention center, as long as this place has a WiFinetwork.It is also faster and more cost effective for the company to set up a wireless network than a wiredconnection.WiFi is UbiquitousThe WiFi technology is already commercialized, so most of the computing and communicationgadgets like laptops and PDAs come WiFi enabled. Further, these WiFi certified gadgets areinteroperable regardless of the brand.On the other hand, public WiFi access sites or hot spots are also on the increase. More and moreoffices, bookstores, airport lounges and food outlets are setting up WiFi hotspots in the hope that thiswill induce their tech-savvy customers to stay on. In some cities, entire neighborhoods and businessdistricts are setting up bigger hotspots.DrawbacksThe small range is the biggest drawback for WiFi. Even while you can move about without the wires,the mobility is severely restricted. Most typically, it is about a radius of 100 feet or so from the hotspot.Earlier versions of WiFi radios drain a lot of power, which is a disadvantage for laptops as they arebattery dependent. Also, nearby equipment like microwave ovens and cordless phones can causeinterference.Security is another big threat. It is easy for anyone to access your wireless networks if you are notcareful. Therefore it is important to install stringent security precautions depending on the sensitivityof the information you handle.Wi-Fi InternetWiFi uses radio technology for communication, and mostly operates at 2.4 or 5 GHz frequency. Most
  3. 3. of the new connectible devices are today WiFi certified, which means not only that they are WiFienabled, but also that these devices are interoperable.In a WiFi network, computers with a WiFi network card can connect wirelessly to a WiFi router. Therouter is connected to internet using a cable or DSL modem. Any WiFi enabled connectible devicewithin 60 meters or so of the access point can access the internet.Some WiFi hotspots are open in the sense that anyone with a connectible device within the range canaccess them, while some others are closed which means that only authorized users can access themusing a password.Where WiFi can HelpInteroperability is one big advantage of WiFi. WiFi allows users to connect with internet as well aswith each other and other devices. It also helps you transcend the distance imitations of using cablesand also saves some of the cost.WiFi technology is of special advantage to people in marketing and sales as these sectors involve alot of travel. In fact WiFi can help anyone who has to move about a lot on work. They can access theirwork email or company databases from wherever they are using WiFi technology. Thus WiFitechnology allows businesses to grow and expand fast.Further, businesses do not have to throw away their existing network infrastructure to start on WiFi. Itis very easy to integrate WiFi into your current wired network. This gives WiFi a definite costadvantage.As we saw earlier WiFi technology uses the 2.4-5 GHz bandwidth and speeds ranging from10 to 50Mbps. This is quite comparable to the speed of a T1 line.SecurityAll said and done, security is one of the biggest issues with a wireless network. This is all the morerelevant in the case of a plug and play technology like WiFi. If you are not careful enough, anyoneclose enough to your base station can intercept the data you send and receive from your network orbreak into your system.Therefore it is important to take sufficient security measures when you set up a WiFi hotspot at yourhome or office. Security is also applicable when you need to access a public hotspot using yourlaptop or other devices.Wi-Fi PhonesA WiFi phone is a wireless device that gives you the dual benefits of wireless connectivity and thecost savings of VoIP. It can be used in any areas- hotspots- where WiFi connectivity is provided. Ifthere are no obstructions, you will be able to use a WiFi phone within a radius of 300 feet (90 meters)of the hotspot. However this also depends on the number of people accessing the hotspot at thegiven moment.What a WiFi Phone Can DoJust like a cell phone, you can use a WiFi phone to make calls, send text message, receive voicemailand to some extent even access the internet. The WiFi phone is capable of retrieving data andaccessing the internet better than a cell phone.
  4. 4. As wireless hotspots are becoming widespread, a WiFi phone enables you to converse with yourfamily, friends and work associates anywhere in the world at much cheaper rates than a regulartelephone allows. All you need to ensure is that you are within the range of a WiFi hotspot.In other words, you can use your WiFi phone from home, hotels, offices, airports, internet cafes,business districts or just about anywhere there is a WiFi network established. More and moremetropolitan areas and commercial outlets are deploying free or low cost WiFi hotspots, so you havemany places where you can use your WiFi phone to make and receive calls.Most of the WiFi phone models available in the market have built in features like echo cancellation,lost packet recovery and packet delay compensation. Thus you can expect excellent voice qualityfrom WiFi phones.The HitchThe problem with WiFi technology is the range and this applies to WiFi phone as well. It is notpossible to roam beyond the hotspot, or between two hotspots, and this means limited mobility whileyou are on a WiFi call. Further, many WiFi enabled phones shut off the WiFi receptor when not inuse, in order to save energy. This can lead to missing the incoming calls. However we can expectthat these problems will be ironed out soon as the technology develops.The Bottom LineThe cost effectiveness is the biggest factor here. The average American user today spends $50 amonth on cellular calls. Hotspots are free or much cheaper in comparison, and multiplying fast too. Byswitching over to WiFi phones, the average consumer as well as businesses can save a lot on thetelephone bill. From this angle, WiFi phone looks like the next big thing in the telecom revolution.Click Here for Free VOIP Web Conference System