Networking is key to our computing experience, and the internet is the biggest network of all. Today what good is a computer if we can’t connect to Local Area Network or the Internet?
Wi Fi , we are hearing this term more instantly these days, so what actually is Wi-Fi?
Wi- Fi is the most common wireless technology, short for Wireless Fidelity. This is actually a combination of different protocols that use the IEEE 802.11 specification standard. The standards are namely 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g.
The 802.11b standard has been around since 1998 and is by far the most widely used wireless network standard today.
The newer 802.11g standards offer faster data transfer speeds than 802.11b. But for most people, 802.11b-based equipment is plenty fast. 802.11g offers data transfer rates up to 54 mbps and is essentially a faster version of 802.11b. Devices based on the new 802.11g standard are also compatible with 802.11b equipment.
Both 802.11g and 802.11b devices share the same radio spectrum as 2.4-GHz portable phones and so when you switch on your microwave ovens, it may cause some slight network interference.
The 802.11a standard also offers data speeds up to 54 mbps, but it isn’t compatible with 802.11b or 802.11g devices. Also worth noting: 802.11a typically offers a range of only 200 feet, compared with the 300-foot range of 802.11b and 802.11g devices. (As like with any Wi-Fi network equipment, the farther you roam from a wireless access point, the weaker the signal and the slower your connection speed.)
Now, why Wi Fi ?
The other day, a headphone-wearing dude sitting near me in a Mall suddenly burst out laughing at his laptop screen.
I can certainly understand screaming at your computer screen, but suddenly laughing at it? In public? Had he gone mad?
Out of curiosity, I peered over his shoulder and discovered the source of his laughter : a streaming video clip of comedian Raju on You tube.
And there you have it–proof that the wireless Internet party is in full swing.
This is nothing, with wireless Internet access, business travelers can quickly grab their e-mails.
College students can instant-message each other all over campus, not forget orkut worm. What a pleasure sitting in the college canteen and chatting and surfing and streaming music and videos. Not to forget our LAN parties. We can challenge our friends in games any time any where. Digital paradise, that’s the right term for it.
And at home, a wireless network enables you to share a high-speed Internet connection as well as a printer, scanner, other peripherals-and of course, your files–between multiple computers, without upsetting your interior decorator.
I will say the most basic use for wireless is to set up a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or Personal Area Network (PAN) at home.
Wi-Fi networks at home can bring an entire new dimension to a family’s digital experience. Imagine that all your electronic gadgets like your TVs, computers, stereos, kitchen appliances and other electronic devices connected through Wi-Fi, your home can become a centre for your whole family to learn, play and communicate in a multimedia-rich, audio and visual manner — wirelessly! And that would be the time to say goodbye to the messy cables around the house.
It’s no secret that wireless internet access is growing at furious rates in India and rest of the world.
Not only are residences and businesses steadily shifting towards wireless networks for ease of access and cost savings, but free wireless hotspots are popping up all over as commercial venues like cafes, hotels, shopping malls and even restaurants realize that wireless Internet access is becoming a fundamental customer requirement.
Wi-Fi networking in India is still in a nascent stage, but some corporate houses are coming up to take the advantages of this wire free internet. Taj hotels has enabled Wi-Fi network to some of their hotels as an added facility to their guests. Plans are also in the offing to locate Wi-Fi facilities at some prominent Indian airports, for the convenience of business travelers.
Café Coffee Day, the popular coffee shop chain in country has enabled Wi-Fi network in several cities. So while sipping a cappuccino, lot can happen over coffee.
So lots of possibilities and lots of fun, but are we Secure?
You’ve probably heard that it’s relatively easy to eavesdrop on a cordless phone conversation. That’s because cordless phones transmit using radio waves, which can be intercepted.
The same is true for wireless networks: They simply aren’t as secure as wired networks, because wireless networks transmit data using radio waves.
We just now had terrorist attack in Ahmadabad, Surat. Investigators found that a terrorist had hacked into the Wi-Fi network of a US national staying in Navi Mumbai, then used his account to send a terror mail.
These terrorists are holding back our technological advancement, many projects to install Wi-Fi hotspots in different cities have paused and a review in security measures are being taken.
I am not a big intellectual but still give you some security tips.
While using public hotspots you should opt for secured networks that require a security key or certificate. Secured networks encrypt information before transmission. Also use a good two way firewall (like Zone Alarm) as this keeps out intruders. The other thing you do is disable File and Print sharing in Windows. You could also make your folders private. To further protect your files consider encrypting them. Windows Vista and XP allow you to do this. And if you want to play safe, do not store passwords, credit card numbers and bank account details on your notebook computer.
Users who set up there own Wi-Fi networks at home can do a number of things to secure networks. Firstly they should monitor their DHCP lists. Most routers allow you to see a list of connected devices and then block intrusions. The second thing that one could do is setup scheduled access. This feature is usually for parental control but works equally well to keep out intruders.
The possibilities are endless. Anybody can use Wi-Fi, almost anywhere. Most computing devices, including notebooks, laptops, PDAs and cell phones, will eventually connect to 802.11-based wireless networks. So Wi-Fi is expected to become an even bigger and hotter technology for both home and businesses in the years to come. So lets declare it, the future is wireless.
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