Lady using LaptopWi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity or 802.11x) – It’s simpler than you think and ready to be implemented into your business. From mom-and-pop business to Fortune 500 companies, they all are incorporating wireless fidelity and maybe it’s time for you to upgrade your small business’ network. We’ll help you understand the differences between the variations of Wi-Fi and which standard is best for your business.

There used to be a time that if you wanted a computer network in your office, you had to contact a team of professionals that used jargon such as: IP Address, Solutions, bandwidth, Paradigm, Scalability and the best term of all, state-of-the-art. As we all can see, technology can changes drastically overtime and the best part of technology changing is that prices are more reasonable and “you” win.

It was just a few years ago when you had a choice of several different types of Wi-Fi or 802.11x and the price to upgrade your office’s network was not feasible. Even though technology is continuously changing, a happy medium has been established and is ready to be incorporated into the small office by the most inexperienced technology novice and at an extremely price point.

Lets understand what Wi-Fi or 802.11x is and why it is important to your small business. Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity (802.11x) is the technology of transmitting and receiving data using high frequency radio signals over an approximate distance. The advantage of having a wireless network in your office is that it can increase your business’ productivity. Allowing your employees to be mobile in your office, such as an inventory based business for example. A wireless network will also allow you to easily add additional computers to your network.

802.11 a/b/g/n – Which one is for you?

  • 802.11 is the first standard of wireless network technology. It operated at maximum of 2 Mbit/s and on the 2.4 GHz band. This particular standard of Wi-Fi receives interference from devices such as cordless phones, microwaves an Bluetooth devices. The range of this wireless network is not far and can be easily disrupted. This is definitely not the technology you want to install in your office.
  • 802.11a is the second standard of Wi-Fi that is still in use today. This standard of Wi-Fi has a maximum throughput of 54 Mbit/s and operates on the 5 GHz band. Because it operates on the 5 GHz band, it receives less interference, however it limits you to line-of-sight operation. The range is approximately 30 meters indoors.
  • 802.11b is the third standard of Wi-Fi. It offers a maximum throughput of 11 Mbit/s and operates on the 2.4 GHz band. Since lower data rates use less complex and more redundant methods of encoding data, they are less susceptible to corruption due to interference and signal attenuation. The range indoors is approximately 30 meters and line-of-sight is not needed.
  • 802.11g is the fourth standard of Wi-Fi. 802.11g has a maximum throughput of 54 Mbit/s and also operates on the 2.4 GHZ band. Most 802.11g products are dual-band/tri-mode, supporting a, b and g bands in a single device. Again, the operating range is approximately 30 meters.
  • 802.11n is the newest standard of Wi-Fi. 802.11n builds upon the technology of the previous versions of Wi-Fi and incorporates a technology called MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to allow increased data transmission. 802.11n operates on either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band and has a range of 30+ meters.

There are several other Wi-Fi standards on the market, however none are major developments. The best standard that is currently in use and will be for many more years to come is 802.11g. “Among the alphabet soup of wireless protocols, 802.11g offers consumers a safe, widely-used standard that is backward compatible and ensures support for the broadest range of devices on the market,” says Scot Zarkiewicz, president and chief executive of SingleClick Systems, a wireless and home networking software provider.