Wi-Fi is a local area wireless technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data or connect to the internet. It uses radio waves for this purpose. It is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Many devices use Wi-Fi, e.g. personal computers, video-game consoles, smartphones, etc. These can connect to a network resource such as the Internet via a wireless network access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors.
Measuring Wifi Signal
One important tool for finding and measuring WIFi signal strength is Net Spot.It provides two ways of measuring WLAN signal strength.
- The first and quickest way is to use Discover Mode. Simply open NetSpot and click the slider on the upper-left to change from "SURVEY" to "Discover." This will immediately take a snapshot of the surrounding area and report the signal strength of every wireless network within range. If you just need to measure your wireless network signal strength in one location, then Discover Mode is all you need.
- If you wish to measure signal strength throughout your network area, you have to do a full site SURVEY. Flip the switch back to "Survey" and start a new survey. You need to upload a map of your area that is drawn to scale, or you can draw one using NetSpot's map drawing tools.
Picture depicting SURVEY mode on NetSpot.
Boosting Wi-Fi Signal strength
When setting up and maintaining a wireless network, one has to maintain good signal strength in all areas within the network perimeter. "Dead" spots of weak signal strength can cause connections to be dropped.
To boost a router signal, one can follow the following steps:
- Keep your Wi-Fi as far as possible from your neighbour's Wi-Fi.
- Keep it away from power cords, computer wires or microwaves. These wires and waves can interfere with radio reception.
- If you need more range, consider upgrading your wireless standard, up to Wireless N or Wireless G with MIMO. These two will greatly increase the range of a formerly 802.11g or 802.11b network.
- One can also buy a WiFi repeater, which is a piece of hardware you can use to boost the signal between the router and your device.
- The addition of a "high gain" (higher dBi) external antenna provide increased reception signal and performance.
- Reflectors can also be used to good advantage. One should use NetStumbler to tune placement of the reflector. The reflector should be placed behind the receiving device or antenna.
- The computer case itself can be a significant barrier to the Wi-Fi signal – one should positioning the case so that it doesn't come between the network card and router antennas.
Configuring Wi-Fi to increase the signal:
- Connect your PC to the Wifi using an ethernet cable.
- Type in your Wi-Fi address in the browser. Type the username(default: admin) and password(default: admin) in the dialog box.
- Go to wireless settings and change the channel to either 1,6 or 11 if living inside US or to 1,5,9 or 13 if outside.
- As low security like WEP can be easily broken by hackers use a higher security option like WPA2.
- Set the Antenna transmit power to full.
Softwares providing complete information about Wi-Fi :
- InSSIDer: MetaGeek's InSSIDer is a great tool for finding Wi-Fi networks within range of your computer and gathering a great deal of information about each. It's also useful for troubleshooting problems with your own Wi-Fi network.
- Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector: It is an excellent program that sniffs out Wi-Fi networks and shares pertinent information about them, such as how close or far away they are. Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector shows any nearby hot spots on a radar-like display.
- Connectify: This very nifty piece of free software lets you turn a Windows 7 PC (it only works with Windows 7) into a Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used by nearby devices — your smartphone, etc.
- WeFi: WeFi helps to find hot spots both near your computer and in other locations. WeFi also helps us to connect to hot spots.
- Depending on your brand and model of wireless router, you may be able to replace the built in software with a replacement open source solution that adds much more capabilities and the option to increase the power to your wireless antenna.
Hardware used in Wi-Fi:
The hardware components of Wi-Fi include:
- Adapters: Wireless network adapters ( known as wireless NICs ) are required for each device on a wireless network. All newer laptop computers incorporate wireless adapters as a built-in feature of the system.
- Wireless Routers: Wireless routers function comparably to traditional routers for wired Ethernet networks. One generally deploys wireless routers when building an all-wireless network from the ground up.
- Wireless Antennas: Access points and routers often utilize a Wi-Fi wireless antenna that significantly increase the communication range of the wireless radio signal. These antennas are optional and removable on most equipment.
Features of Wi-Fi Router:
- Guest wireless network: If you frequently let visitors use your wireless Internet connection, having a router that offers a guest network lets you do more conveniently and securely. Your visitors will get their own SSID to connect to, and you can isolate it from your main network, ensuring that outsiders won't have access to local network resources such as PCs and printers.
- WPA Enterprise: Wireless networks can be kept reasonably secure via WPA/WPA2 personal.
- Detachable antennas: Opting for a router with external and detachable antennas gives flexibility to upgrade to higher gain or directional varieties if necessary.
Made By-Sidharth Sharma(2014163) and Deepak Thukral(2014036)