WiFi

(Wireless Fidelity)

If you've been in an airport, coffee shop, library or hotel recently, chances are you've been right in the middle of a wireless network. Many people also use wireless networking, also called WiFi to connect their computers at home, and an increasing number of cities use the technology to provide free or low-cost Internet access to residents. In the near future, wireless networking may become so widespread that you can access the Internet just about anywhere at any time, without using wires

you may not even notice when you're in a hotspot.unless you're on the lookout for a place to use your laptop. • Wireless networks are easy to set up and inexpensive. • They're also unobtrusive . We'll also review what it takes to create a wireless network in your home. .WiFi has a lot of advantages. we'll look at the technology that allows information to travel over the air. In this article.

.

A wireless network uses radio waves. translating it into a radio signal and sending it to the computer's wireless adapter . just like cell phones. communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. wired Ethernet connection. It sends the information to the Internet using a physical. Here's what happens: • A computer's wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna. In fact. televisions and radios do. • The process also works in reverse. with the router receiving information from the Internet.• We'll start with a few WiFi basics. • A wireless router receives the signal and decodes it.

.

. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones.• The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies.4 GHz or 5GHz. cell phones and other devices. walkie-talkies and televisions. and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s. But WiFi radios have a few notable differences from other radios: • They transmit at frequencies of 2. They can transmit and receive radio waves.

It's the slowest and least expensive standard.11b transmits in the 2.11b was the first version to reach the marketplace. . which come in several flavors: • 802.4 GHz frequency band of the radio spectrum. 802.11 networking standards. and it uses complimentary code keying (CCK) coding. It can handle up to 11 megabits of data per second. and it's becoming less common as faster standards become less expensive.• They use 802.

4 GHz. but it's a lot faster than 802. .11g. However. • 802. It also and uses OFDM coding. 802. the 802. Newer standards.it can handle up to 54 megabits of data per second.11a transmits at 5GHz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second.11b .11n.• 802. can be even faster than 802. like 802. a more efficient coding technique.11g also transmits at 2.11g is faster because it uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM).11n standard isn't yet final.

.• WiFi radios can transmit on any of three frequency bands. Or. Frequency hopping helps reduce interference and lets multiple devices use the same wireless connection simultaneously. they can "frequency hop" rapidly between the different bands.

htm) • A firewall • A wireless access point .This is a single unit that contains: • A port to connect to your cable or DSL modem • A router • An Ethernet hub (ethernet.

many routers can use more than one 802. Most routers provide coverage for about 100 feet (30.11g option for its speed and reliability. As with wireless adapters.11g routers.11b routers are slightly less expensive.11 standard. 802. but they're slower than 802. Most people select the 802.• A wireless router allows you to use wireless signals or Ethernet cables to connect your computers to one another. • If your home is very large. to a printer and to the Internet. you can buy inexpensive range extenders or repeaters to increase your router's range.5 meters) in all directions. although walls and doors can block the signal.11a or 802. .

known as its service set identifier (SSID) -. Switching to a different channel should eliminate the problem.The default setting is usually the manufacturer's name. it should start working at its default settings. . • The channel that the router uses -. You can select: • The name of the network. If you live in an apartment and your neighbors are also using channel 6.Most routers use channel 6 by default.• Once you plug in your router. Most routers let you use a Web interface to change your settings. you may experience interference.

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) .

Introduction to How WiMAX Works Think about how you access the Internet today. There are basically three different options: .

In your home. your company may be using a T1 or a T3 line. you can find WiFi hot spots in restaurants. .In your home. 2. Broadband access . you have either a DSL or Cable modem. At the office. coffee shops and libraries. WiFi access . On the road. you may have set up a WiFi router that lets you surf the Web while you lounge with your laptop.1. hotels.

3. chances are that either broadband access is not available.If you are still using dial-up. or you think that broadband access is too expensive. The main problem with WiFi access is that hot spots are very small. Dial-up access . The main problems with broadband access are that it is pretty expensive and it doesn't reach all areas. so coverage is sparse .

What if there were a new technology that solved all of these problems? This new technology would provide:  The high speed of broadband service.  Broad coverage like the cell phone network instead of small WiFi hotspots. and it is called WiMAX. so it would be a lot less expensive than cable or DSL and much easier to extend to suburban and rural areas. WiMAX is short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. .  Wireless rather than wired access.  This system is actually coming into being right now.

• In the same way that many people have given up their "land lines" in favor of cell phones. WiMAX could replace cable and DSL services. .turning your computer on will automatically connect you to the closest available WiMAX antenna. providing universal Internet access just about anywhere you go.• WiMAX has the potential to do to broadband Internet access what cell phones have done to phone access. • WiMAX will also be as painless as WiFi -.

How WiMAX Works .

• WiMAX could potentially erase the suburban and rural blackout areas that currently have no broad band Internet access because phone and cable companies have not yet run the necessary wires to those remote locations. over greater distances and for a greater number of users. . WiMAX would operate similar to WiFi but at higher speeds.• In practical terms.

as big as 3.Similar in concept to a cell-phone tower. WiMAX transmitting tower • A WiMAX receiver .The receiver and antenna could be a small box or PCMCIA Card.000 square miles (~8. or they could be built into a laptop the way WiFi access is today. A single WiMAX tower can provide coverage to a very large area -.A WiMAX system consists of two parts: • A WiMAX tower . .000 square km).

• It can also connect to another WiMAX tower using a line-of-sight. along with the ability of a single tower to cover up to 3.• A WiMAX tower station can connect directly to the Internet using a high-bandwidth. .000 square miles. is what allows WiMAX to provide coverage to remote rural areas. microwave link. a T3 line). wired connection (for example. • This connection to a second tower (often referred to as a backhaul).

.

WiFi sort of service.they are better able to diffract. WiMAX uses a lower frequency range -. or bend.2 GHz to 11 GHz (similar to WiFi).What this points out is that WiMAX actually can provide two forms of wireless service: • There is the non-line-of-sight. In this mode. . Lower-wavelength transmissions are not as easily disrupted by physical obstructions -. where a small antenna on your computer connects to the tower. around obstacles.

there is less interference and lots more bandwidth. The line-of-sight connection is stronger and more stable. so it's able to send a lot of data with fewer errors. At higher frequencies.• There is line-of-sight service. Line-of-sight transmissions use higher frequencies. where a fixed dish antenna points straight at the WiMAX tower from a rooftop or pole. with ranges reaching a possible 66 GHz. .

the WiMAX transmitting station would send data to WiMAX-enabled computers or routers set up within the transmitter's 30-mile radius (2. • This is what allows WiMAX to achieve its maximum range. which is similar in range to a cell-phone zone). • Through the stronger line-of-sight antennas.300 square km of coverage).• WiFi-style access will be limited to a 4-to-6 mile radius (perhaps 25 square miles or 65 square km of coverage.800 square miles or 9. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful