Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fiedlity. It started in 1985 and was released in 1999.
There are 5 main versions of Wi-Fi called 802.11 -
- 802.11 was the first version of WiFi and released in 1997 but today it is obsolete. It has a slow speed by todays standards 1-2 Mbit/s.
- 802.11a was the next version released in 1999. It uses the 5 Ghz band and has a speed of 54 Mbit/s, it has a range of 115 feet. The bad thing about this version is the signal can get absorbed by walls since it is on a higher frequency but the good thing is it doesn't get any interference.
- 802.11b was also released in 1999. It uses the 2.4 Ghz band and has a speed of 11 Mbit/s, it has a range of 115 feet. The signal doesn't get absorbed by walls like 802.11a but could get interference from othe products like microwaves which also are on the same frequency.
- 802.11g was released in 2003. It uses the 2.4 Ghz band and has a speed of 54 Mbit/s, it has a range of 125 feet. Like 802.11b it can get interference.
- 802.11n was releases in 2009. It is the best version out of all of them since it uses 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands so you can choose which one is best for you. It has a huge speed jump from the older versions, its transfer speed can go up to 600 Mbit/s. It has a range of 230 feet.
With Wi-Fi since it is wireless, it is more easy for someone to get into your network so you have to secure it there are 3 ways to secure it -
- WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy which was released in 1999 when Wi-Fi was released. It had some numerous flaws in it so they made a new way to secure your network.
- WPA Wi-Fi Protected Access which became available in 2003 and fixed the weaknesses that were in WEP.
- WPA 2 is a newer version of WPA and became available in 2006.
- You can access the internet on your smartphone or tablet
- You don't have to run cables around your house
- You can go on the Internet outside your house e.g. back garden, conservatory etc
- Low cost you don't have to pay for cables
- More people can go on the internet in your house at the same time
- Quicker to set up than a wired connection
- Less secure than wired connection
- May be interference from walls, other devices on the same band
3G stands for third generation which lets you access the Internet when your outside and not connected to Wi-Fi. It became available in 2001 and succeeded 2G.
The speed for 3G is slow by todays standards if you are stationary or walking you can get 2 Mbit/s and if you are in a car you get 384 Kbit/s. That speed is ok if your downloading text but if you are downloading photos, music and video it will take a while.
- Can access the Internet from nearly anywhere
- Most smartphones have 3G so you don't have to buy a new smartphone
- No cables
- Slow speed
- Some areas you can't access it
4G stands for fourth generation and is a newer version of 3G. 4G is still being rolled out in the UK and it is only currently available in some places like London. It is available in other countries like America. The main difference between 3G and 4G is its faster speeds.
There are 2 types of 4G -
- LTE which stands for Long Term Evolution
In the UK mobile operators have chosen LTE for their networks and used WIMAX for more rural areas on a smaller scale.
National coverage will come as 4G LTE there are 2 types -
- 4G LTE
- 4G LTE Advanced
4G LTE Advanced will come years later and offer faster speeds than 4G LTE but 4G LTE is fast enough for what we want now.
It expected to roll out on Three, Vodafone and O2 in June and July next year. It has already rolled out on a network called EE which owns Orange and T-Mobile.
The speeds for 4G is 5 to 6 times faster than 3G. The average speed in the UK for 4G LTE is 8-12 Mbit/s. LTE can go up to 100 Mbit/s download and 50 Mbit/s upload. That is the same as home broadband speeds. LTE Advanced can go up to 1 Gbit/s download and 500 Mbit/s upload that is faster than home broadband.
With all these fast speeds the cost it going to be a lot to upgrade the networks from 3G to 4G. It has cost EE £1.5 billion to upgrade their network.
- Faster speed
- It is designed for the future
- Not available everywhere yet
Edge stands for Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Revolution. It is the next step in the 2G network. It is sometimes referred to as 2.75G. It is quite an old network and released in the early 2000s. It has since been replaced by 3G.
It has a slow speed of 236 Kbit/s.
- It is four times as efficient than GPRS
- 3G has faster speeds
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that can transfer data from one device to another over short distances. It was released in 1994 by Ericsson. It has 4 different versions -
- Bluetooth 1.2 - 1 Mbit/s
- Bluetooth 2.0 - 3 Mbit/s
- Bluetooth 3.0 - 24 Mbit/s
- Bluetooth 4.0 - 24 Mbit/s
- Transfer data quickly to another device
- No cables
- Security someone could get in to it