Communications Essays - Wi-fi

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Wi-fi and the Development of Multimedia

1. Introduction

In early 1990s, the development of telecommunication technology enter new era, as Internet becomes attractive services that help users or customers to obtain information that stored in a computer in any part of the world.

In Telecommunications and Computers, James Martin explains there is close relationship between computer and telecommunication. While telecommunication technology emphasizes the role of infrastructure or hardware in communications, the development of computer deals with contents that play a significant role in today's advanced communications in all human activities like banking, manufacturing plan, and also at home.

The use of telecommunication and computers immediately develops into the term information technology that becomes a famous jargon in today's sophisticated information era. In corporations, the use of information technology is mandatory since it simplifies jobs accomplishment and eliminates unnecessary costs (Ferguson, 2000).

One of invention in telecommunication technology that attracts attention is Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity). This refers to wireless technology standards that support high-speed wireless networking or WLAN that stands for Wireless Local Area Network. The technology standard is based on the design recommended by IEEE 802.11. The current development has been on 802.16 g standard. The development of each standard improves the coverage and data rate (Stuart, 2007).

The first development of Wi-Fi technology intends to provide alternative for Local Area Network (LAN) but current development Wi-Fi is also popular media for accessing Internet content from various kinds of Wi-Fi enabled gadgets.

Concerning information technology uses, this paper will discuss the impact of Wi-Fi on multimedia. The discussion includes the reasoning like costs considerations of Wi-Fi implementation, faster access, and extensive geographical coverage. In order to provide practical information, this paper will use the design WLAN that connect to multiple kinds of multimedia contents and devices.

2. Multimedia

By definition, multimedia (Lat. Multum + Medium) refers to variety forms of information (video, audio, images, text, interactivity, and animation) that developed in order to inform or entertain audience. Nowadays, gadgets that have multimedia capability mean that they can store or plays the above forms of information such as some types of cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), desktop PC etcetera.

3. Advantages of Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)

3.1              Cheaper than other internet devices

Unlike other transmission options (cable, satellite, and microwave radio), Wi-Fi is less expensive bases on price of Wi-Fi enabled products/terminal, network set up, and expandability. In terms of setting Wi-Fi network, for instances, a user merely place the Wi-Fi access point then set up the terminals as long as it covers by the Wi-Fi signals. This Wi-Fi implementation is therefore much more cheaper since it does not requires extensive works unlike happens in setting cable-based or satellite-base networks (Stuart, 2007).

In addition, price of Wi-Fi enabled terminals is lower than microwave radio or satellite CPE (customer premise equipment). For instances, price of WLAN adapter is less than $35 each while microwave radio may costs $5,00 for one hoop of point-to-multipoint (PTMP) radio. Meanwhile, costs of ground segment of satellite system that composes of antenna dish, modem, electrical equipments (power amplifier, rectifier, and cabling) and civil works may reach $20,000.

The cheaper implementation of Wi-Fi service is supported by many kinds of Wi-Fi enabled terminals like printers, PCs, and laptop computers that driven the economies of scale of producing such Wi-Fi technology (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Wi-Fi enabled terminals


3.2              Faster than most wireless devices/system

Another benefit of implementing Wi-Fi service is that it offers users faster speed than cable -based system (twisted pair or coaxial cable). For WLAN and internet access purpose, the use of Wi-Fi is also faster than DSL (digital subscriber line) connection (Stuart, 2007).

Figure 1 Data Rate Comparison of Some Wireless Acces Technology


Typical ADSL (asynchronous digital subscribe line) service can offer data rate up to 384 Kbps while Wi-FI can provide up to 54 Mbps and 100 Mbps depending on standards as shown in the Figure 1.

The fast data rate of Wi-Fi enables the faster transmission of multimedia contents. Figure 2 shows typical speed requirement of some applications. It means that Wi-Fi with speed up to 100 Mbps can deliver all types of multimedia contents like video conferencing and even Digital TV. This benefit underlies several network providers/telecommunication companies to deliver their services by using Wi-Fi.

Figure 2 Multimedia Applications and Data Rate Requirement


3.3              Better geographical coverage

The benefit of any wireless services is it can reach any location as long as within the signal coverage regardless the landscape and building model. Interestingly, the simple set up of Wi-Fi network (called hot spots) causes the technology is widely available in almost place of interests like malls, restaurants, airports, bookstores, café, fast-food restaurants, etcetera. In the U.S. alone, according to IDC research in 2003, the growth of Wi-Fi hotspots were about 57% annually within the next five year till 2008 (Stuart, 2007).

The vast availability of Wi-Fi hotspots is also backed up by the coverage that wireless access point can reach. Typically, in outdoor area, Wi-Fi can reach as long as a few hundreds meters while in indoor area, it can reach 25 to 50 meters depending on concrete materials, power, radio frequency, Wi-Fi gadgets sensitivity, and other obstructions.

4. Conclusion

This paper has discussed the definition, benefits, and implementation of Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity). The three benefits of Wi-Fi technology (cheaper costs of implementation, faster data rate, and better geographical coverage) become the underlying reasons behind the extensive use of Wi-Fi for delivering multimedia contents. This is because multimedia contents like video conferencing, e-mails, video streaming, and multiplayer games that delivered through Internet require high-speed data transmission that Wi-Fi can provide.


Dennis, A. (2002). Networking in the Internet age. John Wiley & Sons, New York

Ferguson, Roger W. (2000). Information Technology in Banking and Supervision. Retrieved November 23, 2007 from

Harris, Michael P. (2000). Internetworking Technologies. Retrieved November 23, 2007 from

Stuart, Anne. (2007). Technofile: Why Wi-Fi? Retrieved November 23, 2007 from