How Networking is Changing Dramatically
When people think about groundbreaking advancements in networking technologies and server hardware, they usually think of a data center. Giant racks of servers all blinking various lights to show the status of their systems. The irony of that situation is that they’re usually carrying around some marvels of modern networking in their purse or pocket. And that device is their smartphone. Because the biggest practical advancements in networking have come about as a result of wanting to reach mobile devices. People are on the go and technology is trying to help them do the same.
That’s why one of the biggest advancements in networking came about from the proliferation of WiFi. This is basically a wireless connection to a standard local area network which has an Internet connection. The technology itself isn’t that groundbreaking. It’s solidly within the realm of networking tech that focused on evolution rather than revolution. But one of the most interesting aspects of WiFi is the fact that it was so groundbreaking from a social perspective. Often times technology is best seen as a building block for other technologies. As one piece of the system advances, everything else can as well. And on top of all that sits the general public.
Because it was people who really gave WiFi the performance push it needed. WiFi on its own isn’t the most elegant solution to Internet access when away from home. Locally it’s great. But even going a few houses down will usually be enough to degrade a connection beyond the point of usability. And even within the same household people would often find themselves with issues.
The technological fix came in the form of extenders. These are basically small and fairly inexpensive devices which combine the ability to send and receive a WiFi signal. And that’s about all they can do. Aside from that there’s usually just a very underpowered system which is able to remember preferences. It’s an easy solution to a larger problem. Because it basically serves to recharge a WiFi connection by acting as a relay point for the signal. The WiFi signal comes in and the extender is placed at a point right before it becomes weak. Basically at the outside of the initial radius of the WiFi signal. The extender is then able to process that signal, and generate a new one of it’s own. Technically it’s a different WiFi signal. But it’s able to easily use the same security information. And more importantly, it uses the same Internet connection.
Of course the other major contribution to WiFi has been social. It’s simply businesses realizing that a WiFi signal will bring in and keep customers. This has resulted in a blanket effect where WiFi is typically easily available in towns and cities. In particular, fast food chains will almost always have a WiFi connection available.