Most people know what Wi-Fi is – it lets us use our iPad’s, iPhone’s, laptops and all our other gadgets no matter where we are and what we are doing!
But how many people really know what Wi-Fi can do or even how it works?
Recently we have done a lot of work with Wi-Fi in various different forms, be it linking different buildings together across vast distances, or providing a secure network for EPOS systems, each one is different but the fundamentals are always the same!
Wi-Fi works with Radio waves – your “router” kicks them out continuously and the little antenna’s in your devices pick them up – it’s the same principle that has existed for decades. The problem is that there is only a certain number of radio waves that can be used for this, and if you live in a built-up area (like a block of flats) then I bet someone else uses the same channel as you!
Modern Wi-Fi uses special “encapsulation” to add security to the connection, this means that before the router sends out the signal it is encrypted and forces you to know the password to connect to the network!
If you have Wi-Fi at home, you probably know from experience that every house has a “blackspot” somewhere where it becomes basically unusable – this is because lots and lots of different things have an impact on how the signal is delivered and its strength – even something as simple as a steel girder or a thick stone wall can have a massive impact! You can get little boosters that you can put around your house to help work around these issues – but don’t use too many, they can get in each other’s way!
There is however always a bad side to this great technology – there are a few things to watch out for or to make sure you do;
- It seems a very simple thing, but never join any Wi-Fi that doesn’t ask for a password, there are some very unscrupulous people out there who will use an open Wi-Fi network to find your passwords, bank details, even what websites you browse while you use it!
- Make sure you are actually ON the Wi-Fi – if you are using your mobile data by accident it can get very expensive very quickly!
- Don’t expect it to be as quick as a wire – if there is an option to plug an old fashioned network cable in, take it, it’s faster and way more reliable every time!
- If you run a company with Wi-Fi – change the password! The odds are that all your staff will know it already, but if you don’t have good security in place and they use it for their own devices with viruses on?? You are leaving yourself very open. Maybe consider a guest network that automatically changes its own password!
If you aren’t sure you have the best setup, give us a call, we are always happy to give advice!