Wi-Fi or WiFi (/ˈwaɪ faɪ/) is a technology that allows electronic devices to connect to a wireless LAN (WLAN) network, mainly using the 2.4 gigahertz (12 cm) UHF and 5 gigahertz (6 cm) SHF ISM radio bands. A WLAN is usually password protected, but may be open, which allows any device within its range to access the resources of the WLAN network.
The Wi-Fi Alliance defines Wi-Fi as any "wireless local area network" (WLAN) product based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 standards. However, the term "Wi-Fi" is used in general English as a synonym for "WLAN" since most modern WLANs are based on these standards. "Wi-Fi" is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. The "Wi-Fi Certified" trademark can only be used by Wi-Fi products that successfully complete Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability certification testing.
Devices which can use Wi-Fi technology include personal computers, video-game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, tablet computers, digital audio players and modern printers. Wi-Fi compatible devices can connect to the Internet via a WLAN network and a wireless access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors. Hotspot coverage can be as small as a single room with walls that block radio waves, or as large as many square kilometres achieved by using multiple overlapping access points.
Wi-Fi is less secure than wired connections, such as Ethernet, precisely because an intruder does not need a physical connection. Web pages that use TLS are secure, but unencrypted Internet access can easily be detected by intruders. Because of this, Wi-Fi has adopted various encryption technologies. The early encryption WEP proved easy to break. Higher quality protocols (WPA, WPA2) were added later. An optional feature added in 2007, called Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), had a serious flaw that allowed an attacker to recover the router's password. The Wi-Fi Alliance has since updated its test plan and certification program to ensure all newly certified devices resist attacks.
References[edit | edit source]
- "What is Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11x)? A Webopedia Definition". www.webopedia.com.
- "Brute forcing Wi-Fi Protected Setup" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-15.
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