New Wireless Technology - Wi-Fi

Wireless Technology:
About Wireless Connection: Wireless network refers to any type of computer network that is wireless, and is commonly associated with a telecommunications network whose interconnections between nodes is implemented without the use of wires, such as a computer network.

Wireless Connectivity Types:
Wireless LAN: Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is similar to other wireless devices and uses radio instead of wires to transmit data back and forth between computers on the same network. • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is a commonly used wireless network in computer systems which enable connection to the internet or other machines that have Wi-Fi functionalities. Wi-Fi networks broadcast radio waves that can be picked up by Wi-Fi receivers that are attached to different computers or mobile phones. • Fixed Wireless Data: Fixed wireless data is a type of wireless data network that can be used to connect two or more buildings together in order to extend or share the network bandwidth without physically wiring the buildings together.

? Wi-Fi Technology:
The purpose of Wi-Fi is to hide complexity by enabling wireless access to applications and data, media and streams. The main aims of Wi-Fi are: • Enable access to information easily • Ensure compatibility and coexistence • Get rid of cabling and wiring • Get rid of switches, adapters, plugs and connectors.

? Uses of Wi-Fi:
A Wi-Fi enabled device such as a PC, game console, cell phone, MP3 player or PDA can connect to the Internet when within range of a wireless network connected to the Internet. The coverage of one or more interconnected access points called a hotspot can comprise an area as small as a single room with wireless-opaque walls or as large as many square miles covered by overlapping access points. Wi-Fi technology has served to set up mesh networks.

Wi-Fi also allows connectivity in peer-to-peer (wireless ad-hoc network) mode, which enables devices to connect directly with each other. This connectivity mode can prove useful in consumer electronics and gaming applications. Many consumer devices use Wi-Fi. Amongst others, personal computers can network to each other and connect to the Internet, mobile computers can connect to the Internet from any Wi-Fi hotspot, and digital cameras can transfer images wirelessly.

WiFi Phones:
A WiFi phone is a wireless telephone that looks similar to a mobile phone but places calls via a combination of voice over IP and WiFi rather than via a cellular network. Some WiFi phones use Skype or Vonage for their voice over IP service such as current Belkin and Netgear WiFi phones. Several cellular carriers have created "Dual-mode phones" to compete with WiFi Phones, which can be easily switched between using a WiFi connection when one is available and a traditional cellular network connection when WiFi is not available.

? Advantage Sides:
It's fast. Wi-Fi's latest version is many times faster than DSL or cable connections, and literally hundreds of times faster than those old dial-up connections. That's particularly handy when you're working on the run, on the road, or from home: If you've ever watched seconds tick by while watching Web pages load, you'll appreciate the potential productivity gain.

It's convenient. As soon as a Wi-Fi-equipped device is within range of a base station, it's online. With no wires, you can move your laptop computer from place to place -- for instance, from your office to a conference room down the hall, without losing your network connection. When traveling, you can set up shop anyplace equipped with a Wi-Fi network: another company's office, a hotel room, or a convention center.

It's everywhere. Public Wi-Fi access sites -- or "hot spots" -- are multiplying faster than rabbits on Viagra. They're in bookstores, airport lounges, fast-food restaurants (including some McDonald's and Schlotzky's Deli outlets), and coffee shops. In addition, local merchants from Cincinnati to Athens, Ga., to Portland, Ore., are footing the bill for bigger hot spots, accessible throughout a business district or neighborhood.

? Drawbacks:
Range: Wi-Fi networks have limited range. A typical Wi-Fi home router using 802.11b or 802.11g with a stock antenna might have a range of 32 m (120 ft) indoors and 95 m (300 ft) outdoors. Range also varies with frequency band. Although you lose the wires, you're still limited to the base station's range, typically 75 to 150 feet indoors and a few hundred feet outdoors, depending on equipment, radio frequency, and obstructions.

Power drain: Networks using early versions of Wi-Fi technology tend to quickly gobble power - a disadvantage for battery-dependent laptop users.

Security: Here's the downside of providing fast, easy access. Outsiders can sometimes get into your wireless networks as fast and easily as you can. Check with hardware vendors about the latest security precautions and products. The Wi-Fi Alliance currently recommends using Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) technology, which both authenticates users and encrypts data.