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An unbiased Wi-Fi guide

Oliver: Computer networks are essential, especially in a business environment. Not only that, but more and more peripherals can be connected to a network, and most of them provide Wi-Fi support as well.

So, what are the pros of a wireless network?

It may be obvious, but one of the key advantages of a wireless network is device mobility. We are all used to taking our laptops, tablets and phones to another room without carrying a LAN cable with us, aren't we?

In addition to this, public wireless networks make it really easy to work in coffee shops and other similar locations, thus increasing productivity. Wi-Fi also makes it possible for an employee who is traveling to get access to the company database securely by using a VPN service, and then check the current stock levels, for example.

Wireless networks are also easy to set up. To get started, you will only need to use an access point. More than that, the range of a Wi-Fi network can be expanded easily, by adding more access points or better antennas and external cables.

Everyone knows that money can be a serious issue for small business owners. So, another positive aspect is the fact that you can create a wireless network for your company for under $100.

People use Wi-Fi networks to increase the perceived value of their businesses. Many hotels, restaurants, cafes and bookstores have set up dedicated hotspots, which allow them to attract and retain more clients.

James: It's time to explore the disadvantage that arise from using a wireless network.

The biggest issue I'm seeing is one that's quite seldom talked about: exposure to high levels of radiation. Since both business and home users are always interested in getting a stronger Wi-Fi signal, access point manufacturers do their best to increase radio signal power, and this may affect people's health. Several countries have already taken preventative measures which help their citizens stay healthier. France has already banned Wi-Fi in its nursery schools since 2015, for example.

Another key issue is the lack of security. All the existing data encryption protocols have proven to be faulty, and today a script kiddie who is armed with freely available software may be able to penetrate a home or company network within minutes. It's not surprising that business wireless networks are a very attractive target for hackers; they can get access to company data without being caught, by using specially built, long-range Wi-Fi scanners.

On the other hand, the limited Wi-Fi range is a serious issue as well. Manufacturers have invented, and people have gotten used to purchasing mesh routers, because a single device isn't able to provide enough wireless signal for a medium-sized residence. This approach fixes the signal strength problem, but increases radiation levels and costs.

We can't overlook the limited data transfer speed either. While progress has been made since the first wireless protocol was released, current Wi-Fi solutions don't provide sufficient speed for critical applications, such as 4K, or at least HD video streaming.

Wireless networks aren't very reliable. Since we are talking radio signals, interference can render them useless at any time. To make things even worse, lots of home devices – your microwave oven, for example – compete for the same frequency with your Wi-Fi devices.

Lack of privacy is also a serious issue. If you are home user, a cyber criminal may use your Wi-Fi network to monitor your online activities 24x7.

As you can see, Wi-Fi is a very useful technology, but it has several negative aspects as well. Now that you know all its pros and cons, you should be able to take an educated decision.