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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

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18 Why is WiFi faster at home than ata hotspot?

A crude answer is that interference management in WiFi does not scale well beyond several devices sharing one access point. When the crowd is big, the “tragedy of the commons” effect, due to mutual interference in the unlicensed band, is not efficiently mitigated by WiFi. To see why, we have to go into the details of WiFi’s medium access control in the link layer of the layered protocol stack.

18.1   A Short Answer

18.1.1   How WiFi is different from cellular

Since their first major deployment in the late 1990s, WiFi hotspots have become an essential feature of our wireless lifestyle. There were already more than a billion WiFi devices around the world by 2010, and hundreds of millions are ...

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