An Introduction to Wi-Fi

Includes information on IEEE 802.11ax just released in late 2017! Register early and save!

Instructor: Daniel Wong

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 - 9:00am to 4:30pm EDT

Online via WebEx

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$279 IEEE ComSoc member
$349 IEEE member
$459 non-member

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Course Description

Wi-Fi systems are the most widely deployed wireless technologies in the world today. Yet, they receive less attention these days than cellular technologies like LTE. Despite the fact that Wi-Fi systems carry higher volumes of mobile data, operate at higher data rates than LTE, they are almost like commodity items that people don't think too much about but rather, take for granted.

However, Wi-Fi systems are actually very sophisticated systems that were created to satisfy difficult and challenging requirements. For example, they operate in unlicensed bands, with very severe emission limits; also, they need to provide high data rates because they are in direct "competition" with wired LANs using technologies like Ethernet with super-fast rates; furthermore, in some scenarios, Wi-Fi systems are deployed in a somewhat distributed manner, without strong centralized control. Thus, challenges of interference management and resource sharing arise. Additionally, different types of traffic might need to be given different treatment (QoS), resulting in additional challenges from the resource sharing and interference management perspectives. These other technical challenges have been handled over the years (as different members of the Wi-Fi family of technologies have been created) through a variety of solutions and approaches, some of which are pretty ingenious from an engineering point of view. 

We will explore these along with the solutions and approaches. Examples of such creative solutions include the various coordination functions at the MAC layer (e.g., DCF, PCF, etc.) spread spectrum, OFDM, etc., to handle challenging constraints at the physical layer while trying to achieve high data rates. 

NEW - Just added this year!  The latest high-rate Wi-Fi technology, 802.11ax (also known as High Efficiency Wireless) will come out later this year. Following in the traditions of 802.11n and 802.11ac, and extending them to even higher data rates, pre-standard 802.11ax products are already emerging in the market. Join us for a sneak preview of the highlights of 802.11ax.

Who Should Attend

Wireless and telecom engineers, researchers, and students will find value. Prerequisites: typical first two years of a college electrical engineering course, an introduction to communications systems, or equivalent knowledge from work experience in wireless / telecom engineering.

Take this course to:

  • Gain a systems perspective of a complex set of technologies put together into practical systems to meet real-world requirements for certain high-demand applications
  • Deepen your understanding and appreciation for the design choices and tradeoffs of Wi-Fi systems via numerous comparisons with other wireless systems



An Introduction to Wi-Fi

Daniel Wong

President, Daniel Wireless LLC, IEEE WCP

K. Daniel Wong is President of Daniel Wireless LLC, a California-registered company that provides consulting and training in wireless, networking and software. He has over 20 years experience in wireless communications, both in industry and academia. Daniel is also an experienced speaker and teacher, having taught many highly-rated university level courses, industry short courses and tutorials at conferences, to a wide range of students from industry, government and academia. He is a member of the Practice Analysis Task Force that helped create IEEE's WCET certification program, and a co-author and co-editor of "A Guide to the Wireless Engineering Body of Knowledge" (WEBOK). Daniel is also the author of "Wireless Internet Telecommunications" (Artech House, 2004) and "Fundamentals of Wireless Communication Engineering Technologies" (Wiley, 2012). Daniel graduated with a BSE (with Highest Honors) from Princeton University, and an MSc. and Ph.D from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Wi-Fi systems from a systems perspective - learn how the different components are put together and work together
  • Learn how to design Wi-Fi deployments to optimize usage of Wi-Fi technologies
  • Explain the pros and cons, and the tradeoffs involved, of using various members of the Wi-Fi family of systems, for various applications
  • Explore ideas for solving problems posed by requirements for new communications systems (with Wi-Fi and its requirements as an example)
  • Compare and contrast wireless technologies more accurately and with deeper insight and understanding than before

Course Content


Wi-Fi vs. Cellular

  • Differences in requirements
  • Differences in design philosophy
  • Convergence

Wi-Fi Physical Layer

  • Modulation
  • Channelization
  • Physical layer procedures
  • Physical layer enhancements, including for higher data rates

Wi-Fi MAC layer

  • DCF
  • PCF
  • RTS / CTS, etc.
  • Enhancements to the MAC layer

Wi-Fi - other protocols at the network layer and beyond

  • Networking 
  • Security

Wi-Fi latest developments and future directions

  • Sneak preview of 802.11ax 

Course Materials

A copy of the instructor's PowerPoint slides is included. Access to the streaming video recording is provided for 15 business days after the course has been taught. Earn 0.6 IEEE Continuing Education Units for participating and completing the post-course evaluation.

Course materials and WebEx invitations will be emailed to participants at least one business day in advance of the course date.

COURSE CANCELLATION and REFUND POLICY: Requests for online course cancellations must be received 3 business days prior to the course date for a full refund. Once course materials have been shared with a course participant cancellation and refund requests cannot be accommodated.

Course Agenda

  • Introduction
    • What is it and what is it good for?
    • Architectural matters and fundamentals
    • History and amendments
  • Wi-Fi versus Cellular
  • Wi-Fi MAC layer
    • The original MAC
    • MAC enhancements
  • Wi-Fi PHY layer
    • Higher and higher data rates
    • OFDM, MIMO, etc.
  • Security

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