Home Wireless Network Configuration

WiFi Topology and WiFi Booster Options for Small Office/Home Office

This article gives an overview on the configuration options for a WiFi network at home or in an office. The basic network layout for an Internet connection is discussed and shown. The options to boost and extend the network to support areas with a poor WiFi signal are illustrated.

What is WiFi

The term WiFi is generally used today to describe a wireless connection from a device (laptop, tablet or phone) to the Internet. A network connection without cables is also called an untethered connection. What WiFi is doing is connecting a WiFi enabled device to an Access Point (AP). The AP is referred to as a hub, router, gateway or modem. In fact an AP is a box that combines what used to be several devices into one unit, these devices being a router, a modem, a network switch and wireless local area network (WLAN) interface. The AP then communicates over cable to the server (computer) of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) who provides the broadband (data) connection. For telephone lines the data connection is referred to as ADSL Broadband. Where ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is the technology used to send high speed data over telephone lines originally designed for voice communications.

The ISP is usually the same company that provides you with a home telephone line, although the Internet broadband connection can be provided by a separate company. There is usually a saving in getting both the telephone line and broadband connection from the same supplier. The ISP server handles the link to the Internet (World Wide Web). The link from the ISP to your home is normally through either telephone cable, coaxial cable or fiber optic cable (fibre optic for UK readers), as well as combinations of those cables (e.g. for fiber connections often coaxial cable or telephone cable is used between the roadside cabinet and the home, unless fiber to the home is being provided).

The WiFi Name

WiFi Certified LogoThe WiFi term (original with a dash: Wi-Fi) was coined by the group of companies that came together to promote the wireless networking technology. It was intended to represent the phrase Wireless-Fidelity, similar to the term Hi-Fi (High-Fidelity) being used to refer to audio equipment. Look for the WiFi Certified logo when buying WiFi enable products.

Hub or Router or Gateway or Modem or Access Point

All of these terms can refer to the same box that is installed to connect your house to the Internet. The term hub or media hub or super hub is being used to describe this box to acknowledge the fact that the box combines several functions that used to be performed by different boxes in the past. The term Access Point (AP) also generally refers to any point that a wireless device can connect to a network, and not just the box that connects to the Internet. Therefore in this article we will use the term hub to refer to the box installed by the ISP (usually the phone company). Continue reading