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CS255

8 FEBRUARY 2010

Hasmezi Hasim
ID: 2009580477

THE DIFFERENT
BETWEEN WIRELESS
& WI-FI NETWORK
[ITT420 – Network Fundamental by Dr. Kamarul]
[This is the individual assignment.]
Contents

..............................................................................................................................................1
Contents...............................................................................................................................2
Introduction..........................................................................................................................3
What is Wireless LAN?.......................................................................................................3
What is Wi-Fi?.....................................................................................................................3
The Different of Wi-Fi and Wireless LAN..........................................................................5
Summary..............................................................................................................................7

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Introduction

Wi-Fi is a commercial trademark for Wireless Local Area Network or


WLAN or wireless network. In general, Wi-Fi and WLAN technology are
similar because it use radio wave to enable devices to connect and
communicate and it allows user to deploy a computer network without
needing to run cable throughout the facility.

What is Wireless LAN?

To know the different between Wi-Fi and Wireless LAN, we must first
know the design of Wireless LAN. We know that from the introduction,
Wireless network use radio wave frequency as the communication
medium. The WLAN interoperability is based on the IEEE 802.11
specification which operates in frequencies of 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz
frequency bands. These frequency ranges provide throughput of up to
54 Mbps with a range up to 300 feet indoors. There are four protocols
in 802.11 standards starting from 802.11a/b in 1999, 802.11g in 2003
and the latest is 802.11n in year 2009.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is made from the abbreviation of Wireless Fidelity. Wi-Fi is a


trademark owns by Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit association of more than
300 companies work together to promote the growth of wireless Local
Area Network (WLAN). This group aims of enhancing the user
experience for wireless portability and mobility. Because Wi-Fi is also
WLAN, it operates in the same frequency based on the IEEE 802.11
standards.

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The Different of Wi-Fi and Wireless LAN

Although Wi-Fi and wireless LAN are in the same architecture, there
are some features that are different.

• Connectivity
Wi-Fi technology supports two types connectivity; one is called
“Infrastructure Mode” the other one is “Ad-hoc Mode”. In ad-hoc Wi-
Fi, network can be connected without central device such as router
or access point. By using ad-hoc mode, devices are capable for
communicating directly with each other.

There is another limitation associated with ad hoc mode that is, ad


hoc mode Wi-Fi cannot bridge to wire LANs and cannot access
internet without installing special gateways.

While in Infrastructure mode, Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops,


PDAs, I-phone, etc are connected to the network with the help of
Access point (AP). Wireless Access Points are usually routers or
switches which are connected to internet.

Wireless LAN use infrastructure mode and Wireless Access Points


are always required in Wireless LAN networking. SSID is used in
configuring AP for wireless LAN, and this SSID should be known to
users for them to connect their computers to WLAN.

• Security
Ad-hoc mode offers less protection against network intruders. The
ad-hoc Wi-Fi configured devices cannot disable SSID broadcast in

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contrast to infrastructure mode. Network attackers will need less
effort to prevail Ad-hoc network.
SSID is a security key which helps prevent unauthorized access to
WLAN.

• Performance and Transfer Rate


Ad-hoc mode has signals issues where users can experience weak
strength and intermittent connectivity, where as infrastructure
mode will provide full strength singles.

Wi-Fi or wireless devices when configured to infrastructure mode


can transfer data up to 54 Mbps, where as using ad hoc Wi-Fi mode
only 11 mbps can be achieved. Ad hoc mode is considered slower in
comparison to infrastructure for this reason.

• Scalability
Wireless LAN or infrastructure mode provides much more stability,
scalability, ease of management and improve security. While ad hoc
Wi-Fi does not provide security to that level and managing can be
difficult in case of network growth.

Ad hoc Wi-Fi mode is best used for small number of devices which
are physically present in close proximity with each other and as the
number of devices grows performance of network suffers.
Disconnections of random device may occur time to time and
managing the network can be difficult task for administrator.

There are no extra hardware (Access point) is required to use ad


hoc mode, therefore it reduces the cost. Ad hoc Wi-Fi can be useful

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as back up option for time being if wireless network on
infrastructure mode and access points are malfunctioning.

The only disadvantage associated with infrastructure mode is extra


cost to for Access points (routers and switches).

Summary

Wi-Fi network and Wireless LAN are built with the same concept and
there are 2 types of connectivity which are the ad hoc mode and
infrastructure mode. The ad hoc mode Wi-Fi network works fine in
small environment, like building or homes. Compared to the wireless
infrastructure mode, the WLAN networks offer the advantage of
scalability, centralized security management and improved reach. The
disadvantage of Wireless LAN networks is simply the additional cost to
purchase AP hardware.

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