The How and Why of Wi-Fi
What is Wi-Fi?
Simply put, Wi-Fi is freedom. Wi-Fi allows you to connect your computer, PDA or other devices to each other - all without the expense of cumbersome cables. Imagine working on your laptop or checking e-mail from anywhere in your home or office. Imagine being able to connect to your office network from an airport or coffee shop. Imagine retrieving files or presentations from the corporate network, cruising the Internet or sending instant messages to co-workers - and doing it all from a conference room or the company cafeteria. Now, imagine doing all these things easily and quickly - without worrying about finding a wired network connection. That is Wi-Fi.
How does Wi-Fi technology work?
Wi-Fi networks use radio technologies called IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g to provide secure, reliable, fast wireless connectivity. A Wi-Fi network can be used to connect computers to each other, to the Internet, and to wired networks (which use IEEE 802.3 or Ethernet). Wi-Fi networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands, with an 11 Mbps (802.11b) or 54 Mbps (802.11a) data rate or with products that contain both bands (dual band). They can provide real-world performance similar to the basic 10BaseT wired Ethernet networks.
Is Wi-Fi for Me?
Everyone can use Wi-Fi, almost everywhere in the world. Home Wi-Fi networks can connect multiple computers to each other, to peripherals, and to the Internet via a single high-speed connection. A Wi-Fi network can connect a family's computers together to share such hardware and software resources as printers and the Internet. That means everyone in the family can share stored files, photos and documents
and print them out on a single printer attached to one desktop computer - all without unsightly cables running throughout the home.
Is Wi-Fi for my business?
Large corporations and campuses use enterprise-level technology and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ products to extend standard wired Ethernet networks to public areas like meeting rooms, training classrooms and large auditoriums. Many corporations also provide wireless networks to their off-site and telecommuting workers to use at home or in remote offices. Large companies and campuses often use Wi-Fi to connect buildings.
Wi-Fi networks also work well for small businesses, providing connectivity between mobile salespeople, floor staff and behind-the-scenes finance and accounting departments. Because small businesses are dynamic, the built-in flexibility of a Wi-Fi network makes it easy and affordable for them to change and grow.
What if I'm away from my Wi-Fi network?
Wi-Fi networks can be found in public places like coffee shops, hotels, airport lounges and other locations. This may be the fastest-growing segment of Wi-Fi service, as more and more travelers and mobile professionals clamor for fast and secure Internet access wherever they are.
Is it hard to add more users to a Wi-Fi network?
Adding a wireless computer to a Wi-Fi network is easy. There's no need to purchase or lay more cable or find an available Ethernet port on your hub or router. Just plug in your card or USB connection, turn on your computer and you're surfing the Net. If your business grows and you need to move, you don't have to abandon your network infrastructure investment or hire a networking company to rewire the new location. And there's no network downtime - you can be up and running even before the furniture arrives. Simply plug the system into a power outlet and you'll be operational in minutes.
Why should my products be Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™?
Your Wi-Fi devices will have the best chance of working together if they are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™. Look for the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ logo on product packaging or search through our Web site listing of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ products before making a Wi-Fi purchase. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ logo is your only assurance that a product has met rigorous interoperability testing requirements to ensure that compatible products from different vendors will work together.