An Evolution of Wireless Technology: a Summary of "Smart Wi-Fi" by Alex Hills

Topics: Wi-Fi, Wireless access point, Wireless network Pages: 3 (925 words) Published: November 13, 2006
In "Smart Wi-Fi," Alex Hills argues that as more people start to use wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks, improvements to the wireless technology are needed to ensure reliable and secure services. An increase in popularity of Wi-Fi has come at the cost of creating difficult problems for designers of the technology. However, Hills notes that there has been "substantial progress" towards solving many of these problems. Hills covers some of the developments in wireless local area network (LAN) technology since he and his team built the first large-scaled wireless LAN at Carnegie Mellon University. One development is the adoption of the IEEE 802.11 standard by wireless LAN. This standard is largely known as Wi-Fi. Hills then covers the workings of Wi-Fi networks. Hills states that the "four major concerns" facing designers of Wi-Fi networks are reliability, performance, coverage, and security. The reason for these concerns is the use of radio transmission in Wi-Fi networks. A signal in a Wi-Fi network can degrade due to several reasons. The first reason is "attenuation," which means that radio signals weaken over long distances. The second reason is due to a phenomenon called "multipath distortion," which means that signals can bounce off objects to cause duplicate signals to arrive at the receiver. The third reason for signal degradation is caused by interference. Interference can come from many sources, including microwave ovens and natural sources. "Overcoming" these problems come at a high cost. Methods to deal with these problems lead to slower transmission speeds and extra overhead costs for error reduction. Fortunately, work has been done by Hills and his colleagues towards improving the Wi-Fi technology in "the areas of reliability, performance, design and security." The improvements gave rise to a second generation of Wi-Fi technology, called "Smart Wi-Fi" by the author. The author then addresses four ways that Smart Wi-Fi improves on its...
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