The Internet has become our way of life, it has become such an integral part of our current lifestyle that it is nearly impossible to imagine a world without the internet today and there are quite a few substantial reasons behind this. Back in the day internet was only restricted to high-profile corporate firms, and big governmental and private organizations and was mainly developed for the communication between military divisions. However, it was not long that the benefits of the internet were realized by the general masses and it slowly seeped into the general public. Although the internet was fundamentally present back in the 1960s as well in the form of ARPAnet which was a subsidiary of the US defense department, again it was mainly restricted to the US defense forces and was used to communicate sensitive information between different departments of the Armed Forces.
Beginning of the Internet
In early times internet was present but it was in the shape of segregated networks that were run independently by different countries for their various tasks. Commercialization of the internet began in the early 90s when the infrastructure was adopted by various universities to share research data, this marked the beginning of collaborative working over the internet that we see largely prevalent today. By the end of the 90s era, there were user-friendly web browsers namely Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer through which the internet came into the hands of regular people this was also called the dot com boom. Since there was now a platform for the general public many websites started popping which began from big companies having their online presence to companies like Microsoft creating websites and web-based tools which users can access through their browsers.
In addition to the proliferation of user-friendly web browsers in the late ’90s, another significant development during this period was the transition from traditional phone systems to digital communication technologies. This shift was marked by the gradual replacement of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with digital solutions, often referred to as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) Replacement. This transformation not only enhanced voice communication, but also laid the groundwork for the integration of voice and data services over the same digital infrastructure. As the internet continued to evolve, these advancements paved the way for the convergence of various communication channels and the emergence of modern unified communication systems, shaping the way we connect and collaborate today.
Role of the Internet Today
The increase in the usability of the internet is also directly related to it being cheap and widely available over time. Because the internet was a costly thing back in the day and was considered a luxury but with advancements in technology it has become more widely accessible, faster, and cost-effective for the general public. Now high-speed internet has become quite cost-effective thanks to the constant efforts of internet service providers and governments that are working with these service providers to give a stable high-speed internet connection with discounted broadband service to a majority of the public at a nominal price. If we take a look at the third-largest cable company in the US, Cox Communications, it offers special discounts on its internet services that goes by the name of Cox internet. This makes sense as well because the internet has been the backbone of long-distance communication for quite some time now and most of our activities especially during the pandemic are dependent on the internet for education, working, or business requirements.
Workings of a Wifi
Wifi is a technology that allows users to connect to the internet without any kind of cables all wirelessly. This is achieved by connecting a special type of equipment called the wireless router to the modem, this wireless router converts the internet signals into wireless frequency and transmits them while the receiver built into wifi capable devices catch and provides users with the internet. This not only provides users with portability but allows them to connect to the internet with various devices that do not have Ethernet ports like smartphones, smart TVs, home monitoring systems, and many more. Wifi has become the technology that is mostly used for connecting to the internet but it’s not perfect in any way shape or form and it’s about time that it will also be replaced with something better.
What’s next for Wireless Internet Connectivity
Although Wifi seems to be the most plausible technology in terms of wireless connectivity, it comes with its fair share of cons as well. First thing is that wifi signals are quite sensitive to obstructions which is why it is not that efficient in places where there are lots of walls and doors. The second is that it is not that secure and fast and the connection stability is also a point of contention. However, as the technology is evolving quite a few alternatives are coming in regards to the wifi which we will discuss here.
Li-Fi is a very new technology and works similarly to Wifi but the core difference is that it uses light to transmit data instead of radio signals. Since light has almost 10,000 times more spectrum than radio bands it can transmit data faster and is more secure than both 4g and Wifi. The recent studies conducted on Li-Fi produced results of 1GB per second which is far superior to any existing technology currently in place.
5G is another technology that is expected to give heavy competition to Wifi, just like 4G 5G also works over cellular technology but the benefit is that it is way faster than current 4G technologies with speeds up to 1Gbps on cellular 5G connections all wirelessly and without the limitations of Wifi like signal strength, obstructions and need to be in the range of Wifi network. 5G is a technology that can give Wifi a run for its money because most modern devices are rapidly becoming 5G compatible.
It is an ambitious project carried out by Elon Musk’s SpaceX technology, Starlink is a satellite internet constellation of up to 1600 satellites that will provide internet to the whole earth practically. As of October 2021, the service is being offered in 19 countries on a trial basis. If all went well this could be a major breakthrough in providing stable internet to each and every corner of the world.
At the moment it can’t be questioned that Wifi is the most convenient technology for wireless internet because of how deeply it has been rooted into the internet culture despite its drawbacks. The future technologies mentioned in this article are interesting, to say the least, but they are only on paper or in the development phase. It remains to be seen when they are going to be manifested and how well they are going to work in the real world environment and will they be able to compete with wifi because so far it looks like a hard cookie to crack.
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