In recent years, wireless internet access has become the standard in your own four walls thanks to WLAN. Whether surfing, printing or watching TV – with WLAN this is also possible without annoying network cables. Here you can find out how the local radio network works, what advantages it offers and how the WLAN signal can be strengthened.
- WLAN means “Wireless Local Area Network” (in German: wireless local network) and is used for data transmission by means of a radio signal.
- Even laypeople can set up a WLAN in a few minutes. After you have configured the router to establish Internet access, it is necessary to activate the actual WLAN function.
- In order to be able to establish a connection with the access point of the WLAN, a corresponding radio module is required in the end device.
What is WiFi actually?
Based on abbreviationfinder, WLAN means “Wireless Local Area Network” (in German: wireless local network) and is used for data transmission by means of a radio signal. Where previously network cables had to be laid in every room, today a wireless network connection can be established by cleverly positioning the WLAN-enabled router. Devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets can, as logged-in participants in this wireless network, access the Internet via the router and surf wirelessly anytime and anywhere. Whether on the couch, in the study or in the kitchen – WLAN enables a simple and convenient internet connection everywhere.
The WLAN simply explained
The central point of the WLAN is the so-called wireless access point. As a rule, this is a router that coordinates the connection of the logged-in clients and establishes the connection between the end devices and the Internet by sending and receiving data. There are two basic variants of WLAN:
The ad hoc network
In an ad hoc network (Latin for “made for this moment”), two end devices – usually computers – connect wirelessly. Since there is no central access point, both participants have equal rights and coordinate the connection themselves.
An infrastructure network is the most common type of WLAN. Here, a WLAN router with a DSL modem acts as an access point and central switch to which devices register. This process is well known from the home WLAN: Select WLAN, enter encryption, done. As a result, you are a participant in the wireless network with your laptop and can use wireless internet access thanks to the WLAN-enabled router.
Set up WLAN: Here’s how
Even laypeople can set up a WLAN in a few minutes. After you have configured the router to establish Internet access, it is necessary to activate the actual WLAN function. In addition to pressing the WLAN button on the router itself, the check mark to activate the WLAN radio network must be set in the configuration of the WLAN router’s user interface. As a result, end devices can recognize the WLAN and dial in using the security key.
Safety first – also with WLAN!
After setting up the WLAN, the first step should be to secure it against unauthorized access by third parties. The current standard WPA / WPA2, which stands for the greatest possible security, should be selected as encryption. A password or code that is difficult to crack should be chosen as the network key that you have to enter when logging into the network. Up to 63 characters can be used. The more variable and larger the character string, the better the WLAN is protected.
Limited WiFi range causes frustration
The transmission distance of the radio signal is limited – and that’s a good thing. Due to the usual use of the 2.4 GHz frequency band, numerous networks in the vicinity compete for radio channels, which leads to a loss of signal quality. The high number of networks can lead to problems, especially in high-rise buildings or buildings with several parties. Overlapping can be reduced by reducing the range of the WLAN signal. Nevertheless, care should be taken within your own four walls to make the best possible use of the possible WLAN range. Thick walls reduce the WLAN signal, as do large metallic surfaces in the transmission path – the basement is therefore extremely unsuitable as a location for the WLAN router.
Wifi signal too weak – what to do?
If the WiFi signal reaches the end device only weakly, the internet speed is slow and the pulse rises. Before making any additional purchases, it should be clarified whether the positioning of the wireless router can be improved. The closer it is to the end device, the stronger the signal and thus the data transmission rate. If nothing can be optimized here due to the size of the distance to be bridged between the router and the end device (s), we recommend purchasing a WiFi repeater or WiFi amplifier. These receive the signal halfway and forward it, which can amplify the WiFi signal and increase the WiFi range. This means that a few Mbit / s more can be achieved on the end device further away from the WLAN router.
WLAN radio module is essential
In order to be able to establish a connection with the access point of the WLAN, a corresponding radio module is required in the end device. Notebooks, tablets and cell phones usually already have a compatible module installed, while desktop PCs can be quickly remedied using an inexpensive WLAN stick.