Wireless Ways at home

18th March 2019
Wireless Ways  at home

WiFi is 20 years old   -- and poised to create zippier, smarter networks
by Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, March 18 2019: Six companies came together in 1999 to form the Wireless Ethernet  Compatibility Alliance  offering  the technology  that came to be known as WiFi:  wirelessly distributing  data and Internet across home and office, at a top speed of 10 MBPS. 
Today, as  the industry marks 20 years of WiFi,  speeds have  improved 100-fold  to over 1 gigabit/sec  and some 30 billion devices worldwide are wirelessly connected -- almost certainly including a few in our own homes. Indeed,  with the average family sharing the use of a PC or laptop , a TV and a few  mobile phones at the very least,  it is difficult to do without  a broadband  connection  and a  modem-router combo (often a single device) to "route" the data through the air, across  the home.
The router  often supplied by the  data connection provider  tends to be the most basic kind: with the average  apartment extending across 2 bedrooms and a hall,  such  entry level routers  are not good enough to reach all  corners. It is smart to pay a little extra upfront and invest in one's own router which offers the best current speed and the best range. I have recently tried  an India- designed product    from Digisol, the AC1200  Gigabit dual band wireless broadband router model DG-BR5411QAC. "AC" indicates it offers  the current best speed in Wifi and adheres to the standard  802.11ac,  which theoretically is capable of transferring data at up to 867 MBPS. Since the top  data speed offered by fibre optic  data providers for homes  in India is 1 GBPS or 1000 MBPS, this model is reasonably future proof.  Like most contemporary  routers, it operates over two alternate bands --  2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.  The former is better for getting through walls, while the latter is faster. The router dynamically selects the best band to reach your PC or  any other  device. But more importantly,  the  AC1200  sports four antennas  which means  better reach. Previously I used a dual antenna router -- but had to invest in a WiFi  extender costing another  Rs 2500,  to reach the farthest room. Now with this new  4-beam router, I no longer need this extender.  You can ensure that your network is private by installing  the WEP encryption with your own password.  Installation is fairly easy though there is no   mobile app mode which many routers offer today.  Still, good value at Rs 3,999.
Names and numbers_____________________________
 WiFi versions have been identified by a letter or pair of
letters appended to the  wireless standard 802.11. 
Thus the earliest version of 1999 was 802.11b. Then
came  'a', g', 'n'  and the current standard 'ac'. 
Each iteration is faster than the earlier one. 
Now the WiFi Alliance has decided to replace the letter
suffixes with numbers. The new standard due for rollout
this year  -- 802.11ax -- will therefore  be known as 
WiFi 6-- being the sixth  version. Today's  'ac' version is
thus WiFi 5 and so on.  WiFi 6  will support speeds
between 1.1 GBPS to 4.8 GBPS making  connections  
4-10 times faster than the best we enjoy today, and more
reliable in crowded areas.