(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

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


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


cell phones and other devices.• The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones. . They can transmit and receive radio waves. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data. walkie-talkies and televisions. But WiFi radios have a few notable differences from other radios: • They transmit at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz. and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s.

which come in several flavors: • 802.11b transmits in the 2. and it's becoming less common as faster standards become less expensive. 802. .11b was the first version to reach the marketplace.• They use 802. It's the slowest and least expensive standard.4 GHz frequency band of the radio spectrum.11 networking standards. It can handle up to 11 megabits of data per second. and it uses complimentary code keying (CCK) coding.

11a transmits at 5GHz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second. Newer standards.11g.11b . like 802.• 802.4 GHz. 802. However. but it's a lot faster than 802. a more efficient coding technique. . the 802.11n.11g also transmits at 2. can be even faster than 802.11n standard isn't yet final.11g is faster because it uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM).it can handle up to 54 megabits of data per second. • 802. It also and uses OFDM coding.

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

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.

As with wireless adapters. 802.11b routers are slightly less expensive.11a or 802.11g routers. .• A wireless router allows you to use wireless signals or Ethernet cables to connect your computers to one another. you can buy inexpensive range extenders or repeaters to increase your router's range.5 meters) in all directions.11 standard. to a printer and to the Internet. although walls and doors can block the signal. Most routers provide coverage for about 100 feet (30. • If your home is very large. but they're slower than 802.11g option for its speed and reliability. Most people select the 802. many routers can use more than one 802.

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

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) .

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

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

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

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

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

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.• In practical terms. WiMAX would operate similar to WiFi but at higher speeds. . over greater distances and for a greater number of users.

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

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


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

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

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