WiFi, or Wireless Fidelity, is a technology standard developed in 1997 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). WiFi is all about high speed wireless internet access. In today’s scenario, workers typically move about a lot and need to operate from several stations other than their office cabin. As gadgets like laptops and PDAs were developed to meet this need, it was also necessary to develop wireless internet technologies to enhance their function. This is where WiFi comes in.
WiFi is Fast
WiFi typically offers much faster internet access than cable and DSL connections, a definite advantage for businesses. The high speed is also useful when you’re on the move. There is a promise of enhanced productivity here.
WiFi is Convenient
You can access internet from your Wi-Fi enabled device from wherever you are, as long as you are within range of a base station or source. Thus the workers can move about with their gadgets from their cabin down the corridor to the conference room all without losing connection. You can also access your company’s network from your own laptop or PDA, even when you are in another place, like a business associate’s office, a hotel or convention center, as long as this place has a WiFi network.
It is also faster and more cost effective for the company to set up a wireless network than a wired connection.
WiFi is Ubiquitous
The WiFi technology is already commercialized, so most of the computing and communication gadgets like laptops and PDAs come WiFi enabled. Further, these WiFi certified gadgets are interoperable regardless of the brand.
On the other hand, public WiFi access sites or hot spots are also on the increase. More and more offices, bookstores, airport lounges and food outlets are setting up WiFi hotspots in the hope that this will induce their tech-savvy customers to stay on. In some cities, entire neighborhoods and business districts are setting up bigger hotspots.
The 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 are battery dependent. Also, nearby equipment like microwave ovens and cordless phones can cause interference.
Security is another big threat. It is easy for anyone to access your wireless networks if you are not careful. Therefore it is important to install stringent security precautions depending on the sensitivity of the information you handle.