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  • Writer's pictureTom Curnin

What is Wi-Fi?

Updated: 1 day ago

This article explains everything about WiFi
What Is WiFi?

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones to connect to the internet without the need for physical wired connections. It works by transmitting data using radio waves between a wireless router and/or wireless access point (WAP) and the devices connected to it. The router sends out a radio signal, which is then converted into data that the devices can use. This process works both ways, as the router also receives data from the internet, converts it into a radio signal, and sends it back to the devices to be decoded

 

Wi-Fi operates using radio waves to transmit information between devices and a router or WAPs via specific frequencies, typically 2.4 gigahertz, 5 gigahertz and 6 gigahertz. These frequencies are used to carry the binary code that represents the data being transmitted. The router is connected to the internet via a wired connection, and it acts as a hub to broadcast the internet connection, allowing multiple devices to connect to it wirelessly

 

Frustration of Poor Wi-Fi

·       Poor Wi-Fi signal strength and coverage in parts of the home (dead zones)

·       Slow internet speeds, buffering when streaming videos.

·       Frequent disconnections and need to reconnect devices.

·       Interference from neighboring Wi-Fi networks causing connectivity issues.

·       Outdated or low-quality Wi-Fi router unable to handle multiple devices.

·       Lack of parental controls and internet filters

·       Unsightly cables and router placement in the home

Bravo AV can solve all these problems.

 

Signal Strength

Wi-Fi signal strength is a key factor in ensuring a reliable and fast wireless network within your home. Signal strength is a measure of the power of the Wi-Fi signal received by a device. It is essential for a reliable connection and good data transmission rates. Acceptable signal strength levels vary based on the specific environment, the type of equipment used, the amount of clients on the network, the desired data rates are, and what applications will be used.

 

Understanding Wi-Fi Signal Strength

Wi-Fi signal strength is measured in decibel milliwatts (dBm), with higher values indicating stronger signals. The ideal signal strength for optimal performance varies based on factors such as background noise, the number of connected devices, desired data rates, and the specific applications being used.

 

dBm is expressed as negative values. For instance, -30 is a higher signal than -70.

dBm does not scale in a linear fashion but is logarithmic. That means that small signal strength can have tremendous impact on signal strength.  Two point of reference:

3 dB of loss = -3 dB = halves signal strength

10 dB of loss = -10 dB = 10 times less signal strength

 

It's important to note that signal strength is not the same as the speed of your internet connection, but it does play a crucial role in maintaining a stable and reliable wireless network.

 

 

Acceptable Signal Strength Levels

Signal Strength

Quality to Expect

Required Level For

 


-30 dBm

Amazing

N/A



-67 dBm

Very Good

VoIP/VoWi-Fi, streaming video



-70 dBm

Okay

Email, web



-80 dBm

Not Good

N/A








 

Factors affecting Wi-Fi Signal Strength

Wi-Fi transmission (signal strength) is influenced by the following factors:

1.     Distance

2.     Frequency

3.     Building composition (building materials)

4.     RF Interference

1. Distance

The distance between your device and the Wi-Fi router affects signal strength. As you move farther away, the signal weakens, potentially impacting transmission rates.

 

2. Frequency

Moreover, the frequency at which Wi-Fi operates plays a crucial role. Lower frequencies, such as 2.4 GHz, can travel longer distances and penetrate solid objects better, while higher frequencies, like 5 GHz, carry more data but have shorter ranges and are more easily obstructed by objects and materials.

 

3. Building Material

Wi-Fi transmission rates can be significantly affected by the building materials used in a home. Materials such as concrete, brick, masonry block, timber, wire & lath with plaster, glass, and fish tanks can block or weaken Wi-Fi signals, leading to poor coverage and slow speeds. A strong internet connection from the ISP is not sufficient for good Wi-Fi coverage. You must have a way to distribute connectivity throughout the structure.  

Building Material

Signal Loss at 5 GHz (in decibels)

Concrete (6 inches)

19 dB

Brick

15 dB

Masonry Block

15 dB

Timber & drywall

3 dB

Wire & Lath with Plaster

Varies.  More than 3 dB

Glass

Varies

 

4. Radio Frequency (RF) Interference

RF interference can disrupt Wi-Fi signals, leading to unsatisfactory performance. It can be caused by various devices operating on similar frequencies, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices. To minimize interference, consider using the 5 GHz or 6 GHz band instead of the 2.4 GHz frequency, as these bands are less prone to interference. Additionally, adjusting the Wi-Fi transmission power can help reduce the impact of RF signals, ensuring efficient network strength with minimal interference.

 

In summary, Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to enable devices to connect to the internet without the need for physical wired connections. It has become an integral part of everyday life, providing flexibility and convenience for users to stay connected within their network's range.

 

What is the difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The main difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth lies in their respective purposes and capabilities. Wi-Fi is primarily used to connect devices to the internet, allowing for high-speed data transfer and the ability to connect to a wide range of devices. On the other hand, Bluetooth is used for short-range communication between devices, enabling them to connect to each other without the need for cables.

 


 

What to know more? 

Check out Bravo AV’s other articles about computer networks.

1.     Networking Overview

2.     Routers - The top Functions

3.     Routers - High speed Processors & RAM

4.     Routers - Dual WAN Failover

5.     ISP

6.     ISP Data Plans

7.     Wi-Fi

8.     Wi-Fi distribution

9.     Heat Mapping

 

Why Bravo AV

 

We are a one-stop shop. We have relationships with carpenters, painters, electricians, etc., to provide anything you need to create your perfect project.

 

Continue learning with our Comprehensive Guides on Network and Wi-Fi Solutions:



Contact 

Bravo AV 80 Morristown Rd.

Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Tel. (908) 953-0555


Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional, and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at Tom@BravoAV.com.


Last updated July 13, 2024

 

 

LOCAL, RELIABLE AND KNOWLEDGEABLE

 

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