A Little Summary on WiFi Connectivity

Wi-Fi - Quality of Service (QoS)
There are plans to incorporate quality of service (QoS) capabilities in WiFi technology with the adoption of the IEEE 802.11e standard. The 802.11e standard will include two operating modes, either of which can be used to improve service for voice:

WiFi Multimedia Extensions (WME): Mandatory
WiFi Scheduled Multimedia (WSM) − Optional
WiFi Multimedia Extensions (WME)
WiFi Multimedia Extensions use a protocol called Enhanced Multimedia Distributed Control Access (EDCA), which is an extension of an enhanced version of the Distributed Control Function (DCF) defined in the original 802.11 MAC.

The enhanced part is that EDCA will define eight levels of access priority to the shared wireless channel. Like the original DCF, the EDCA access is a contention-based protocol that employs a set of waiting intervals and back-off timers designed to avoid collisions. However, with DCF all stations use the same values and hence have the same priority for transmitting on the channel.

With EDCA, each of the different access priorities is assigned a different range of waiting intervals and back-off counters. Transmissions with higher access priority are assigned shorter intervals. The standard also includes a packet-bursting mode that allows an access point or a mobile station to reserve the channel and send 3- to 5-packets in a sequence.

WiFi Scheduled Multimedia (WSM)
True consistent delay services can be provided with the optional WiFi Scheduled Multimedia (WSM). WSM operates like the little used Point Control Function (PCF) defined with the original 802.11 MAC.

In WSM, the access point periodically broadcasts a control message that forces all stations to treat the channel as busy and not attempt to transmit. During that period, the access point polls each station that is defined for time sensitive service.

To use the WSM option, devices need to send a traffic profile describing bandwidth, latency, and jitter requirements. If the access point does not have sufficient resources to meet the traffic profile, it will return a busy signal.

Wi-Fi - Security
Security has been one of the major deficiencies in WiFi, though better encryption systems are now becoming available. Encryption is optional in WiFi, and three different techniques have been defined. These techniques are given here −

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
An RC4-based 40-or 104-bit encryption with a static key.

WiFi Protected Access (WPA)
This is a new standard from the WiFi Alliance that uses the 40 or 104-bit WEP key, but it changes the key on each packet. That changing key functionality is called the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP).

IEEE 802.11i/WPA2
The IEEE is finalized the 802.11i standard, which is based on a far more robust encryption technique called the Advanced Encryption Standard. The WiFi Alliance designate products that comply with the 802.11i standard as WPA2.

However, implementing 802.11i requires a hardware upgrade.

Wi-Fi - Network Services
The picture has become somewhat confused as service providers started using WiFi to deliver services for which it was not originally designed. The two major examples of this are wireless ISPs and city-wide WiFi mesh networks.

Wireless ISPs (WISPs)
One business that grew out of WiFi was the Wireless ISP (WISP). This is an idea of selling an Internet access service using wireless LAN technology and a shared Internet connection in a public location designated as a hot spot.

From a technical standpoint, access to the service is limited based on the transmission range of the WLAN technology. You have to be in the hot spot (i.e. within 100m of the access point) to use it. From a business standpoint, users either subscribe to a particular carrier's service for a monthly fee or access the service on a demand basis at a fee per hour. While the monthly fee basis is most cost effective, there are few intercarrier access arrangements, so you have to be in a hot spot operated by your carrier in order to access your service.

City-Wide Mesh Networks
To address the limited range, vendors like Mesh Networks and Tropos Networks have developed mesh network capabilities using WiFi's radio technology.

The idea of a radio mesh network is that messages can be relayed through a number of access points to a central network control station. These networks can typically support mobility as connections are handed off from access point to access point as the mobile station moves.

Some municipalities are using WiFi mesh networks to support public safety applications (i.e. terminals in police cruisers) and to provide Internet access to the community (i.e. the city-wide hot spot).

Wi-Fi - Radio Modulation
WiFi systems use two primary radio transmission techniques.

802.11b (<=11 Mbps) − The 802.11b radio link uses a direct sequence spread spectrum technique called complementary coded keying (CCK). The bit stream is processed with a special coding and then modulated using Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK).

802.11a and g (<=54 Mbps) − The 802.11a and g systems use 64-channel orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). In an OFDM modulation system, the available radio band is divided into a number of sub-channels and some of the bits are sent on each. The transmitter encodes the bit streams on the 64 subcarriers using Binary Phase Shift Keying (BPSK), Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK), or one of two levels of Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (16, or 64-QAM). Some of the transmitted information is redundant, so the receiver does not have to receive all of the sub-carriers to reconstruct the information.

The original 802.11 specifications also included an option for frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), but that has largely been abandoned.

Adaptive Modulation
WiFi uses adaptive modulation and varying levels of forward error correction to optimize transmission rate and error performance.

As a radio signal loses power or encounters interference, the error rate will increase. Adaptive modulation means that the transmitter will automatically shift to a more robust, though less efficient, modulation technique in those adverse conditions.

Wi-Fi - Major Issues
There are a few issues that are assumed to be the cause behind the sluggish adoption of WiFi technology −

Security Problems − Security concerns have held back WiFi adoption in the corporate world. Hackers and security consultants have demonstrated how easy it can be to crack the current security technology known as wired equivalent privacy (WEP) used in most WiFi connections. A hacker can break into a WiFi network using readily available materials and software.

Compatibility and Interoperability − One of the major problems with WiFi is its compatibility and interoperability. For example, 802.11a products are not compatible with 802.11b products. Due to different operating frequencies, 802.11a hotspots would not help an 802.11b client. Due to lack of standardization, harmonization, and certification, different vendors come out with products that do not work with each other.

Billing Issues − WiFi vendors are also looking for ways to solve the problem of back-end integration and billing, which have dogged the roll-out of commercial WiFi hotspots. Some of the ideas under consideration for WiFi billing such as per day, per hour, and unlimited monthly connection fees.

Wi-Fi - Summary
WiFi is a universal wireless networking technology that utilizes radio frequencies to transfer data. WiFi allows high-speed Internet connections without the use of cables.

The term WiFi is a contraction of "wireless fidelity" and commonly used to refer to wireless networking technology. The WiFi Alliance claims rights in its uses as a certification mark for equipment certified to 802.11x standards.

WiFi is a freedom – freedom from wires. It allows you to connect to the Internet from just about anywhere — a coffee shop, a hotel room, or a conference room at work. What’s more – it is almost 10 times faster than a regular dial-up connection. WiFi networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 radio bands, with an 11 Mbps (802.11b) or 54 Mbps (802.11a) data rate, respectively.

To access WiFi, you need WiFi enabled devices (laptops or PDAs). These devices can send and receive data wirelessly in any location equipped with WiFi access.

What is Next?
Now, the focus in wireless is shifting to wide area, i.e., WiMax. WiMax, short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is defined in IEEE 802.16 standards. It is designed to deliver a metro area broadband wireless access (BWA) service, and is being promoted by the WiMax Forum.

WiMAX is quite similar to WiFi, but on a much larger scale and at faster speeds. A nomadic version would keep WiMAX-enabled devices connected over a large area, much like today's cell phones.
A Little Summary on WiFi Connectivity A Little Summary on WiFi Connectivity Reviewed by Joseph on May 01, 2018 Rating: 5

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