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Wi-Fi: An integral part of our everyday life

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4

Feb, 2016

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Wireless internet service has changed the way people use the internet. Emergence of smartphones combined with WiFi penetration has brought a sea-change in the utilization of internet. To some extent, WiFi has been instrumental in the growth of data traffic as well. Its emergence has greatly benefited all of us, however, it also brought in few risks. This article summarizes both pros and cons of WiFi.

Ease of Access

The most immediate advantage for wireless Internet access is that you are not bound to sit at your desk, using a computer that is wired into your modem or router. Wireless Internet access enables you to use your laptop or other Wi-Fi enabled devices anywhere in your home, irrespective of type of data you are consuming.

Enables simultaneous access by Multiple Users and Multiple Devices

By using wireless Internet, your home can support numerous Wi-Fi devices simultaneously, without the need to run Ethernet wires throughout your home. Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including MP3 players, tablets and video game systems can all reap the benefits of accessing the Internet wirelessly. Some TVs can also utilize a wireless Internet connection to stream movies, music and games directly.

Increased efficiency

Improved data communications lead to faster transfer of information within businesses and between partners and customers. For example, sales people can remotely check stock levels and prices whilst on sales calls.

Cost savings

Wireless networks can be easier and cheaper to install, especially in listed buildings or where there is no provision to install cables.

New opportunities

Wireless networking has allowed us to offer new products or services. For example, many airport departure lounges, train stations, hotels, cafes and restaurants have installed ‘hot spot’ wireless networking services to allow mobile users to connect their equipment to their ‘home’ offices while travelling.

There are also certain drawbacks associated with the use of wireless networks.

Bandwidth Usage

While Wi-Fi access can increase the amount of devices connected to your network, this also comes at the disadvantage of your bandwidth usage increasing. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data traffic being sent from and received by your home network. There is a finite limit to the amount of data that can be sent at one time, which may slow your Internet connection to a crawl if you have multiple devices drawing a steady connection.

Slower Speed

Related to bandwidth, the speed of wireless Internet access has been found to be drastically slower than wired Internet connections on the same network. A 2011 study titled “Wi-Fi in the Home” found that wireless Internet connections were up to 30 percent slower than wired Internet connections on the same network.

Security

Though wireless Internet access increases where you can extend Internet service within your home, the signal from your wireless router may extend beyond your home. Though most wireless routers give users the ability to set a network password, failure to utilize this feature could leave your home network open to intrusion and your Internet connection open to anyone within range of your broadcast antenna.

Consistency

In some buildings getting consistent coverage can be difficult, leading to ‘black spots’ where no signal is available. For example, in structures built using steel reinforcing materials, you may find it difficult to pick up the radio frequencies used.

In summary, WiFi has changed the way we communicate. It combined with smart-devices has made the exchange of information faster and more efficient. It has created lot of opportunities for telecom companies to offer broadband in a cost effective manner. Thought it has few risks, with the right measures these can be mitigated. With the increased offering of WiFi offload services by mobile operators, emergence of smart-cities and smart utilities, this technology has become even more crucial part of our lives.

By : Anurag Bose

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