Q:

How do you read a Wi-Fi diagram?

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Quick Answer

Start by looking for the signal origin, usually indicated either at the top or near the center of the diagram as a satellite or Internet provider. Proceed from there, either downward from the top or out from the center, looking at lines that indicate how devices receive signals from each other. Wi-Fi diagrams often have circular wireless fields that indicate signal range.

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Full Answer

To read a Wi-Fi diagram, look for the origin point for the network and its signals, usually either at the top of an image or in the center. Diagrams that have a top-down design place the origin point at the top of the diagram and the devices and network zones cascade downward from the satellite or signal provider. In contrast to that, diagrams that have more of a “spider web” design place the origin point in the center and then place the other devices outward in order of connectivity. Some diagrams instead use the layout of a house or office to indicate not only how devices are connected but where they are located in real space.

Once you have a sense of the overall layout of the Wi-Fi diagram, look at how devices are connected, usually indicated by lines going from one device to another. For example, a wireless router at the center of a simple diagram might have lines connecting it to a computer, laptop and “smart” HDTV to indicate that they are part of the same wireless network. Hubs or routers on a wireless network can also have circles around them, especially in a diagram that maps out a real space like an office, with the circles indicating the wireless range for each device. These images often use color-coding in the wireless circles to show signal strength relative to each hub.

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