Wireless Networking, Part 1: Capabilities and Hardware

Wireless Networking, Part 1: Capabilities and Hardware

These days it isn’t uncommon for a home to have multiple personal computers, and as such, it just makes sense for them to be able to share files, as well as to share one Internet connection. Wired networking is an option, but it is one that may require the installation and management of a great deal of wiring in order to get even a modestly sized home set up. With wireless networking equipment becoming extremely affordable and easy to install, it may be worth considering by those looking to build a home network, as well as by those looking to expand on an existing wired network.

The first installment in this two-part series of Tech Tips will provide an introduction to the basic capabilities and hardware involved in wireless networking. Once that foundation has been established, we’ll take a look at a few setup and security related considerations that should be addressed once the physical installation is complete.


The basic standard that covers wireless networking is the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11, which is close kin to the wired Ethernet standard, 802.3. Many people will recognize 802.11 more readily when accompanied by one of three suffixes (a, b, or g), used to specify the exact protocol of wireless networking.

The 802.11a protocol first hit the scene in 2001, and despite a small surge in recent popularity, it is definitely the least common of the three at this time. The signals are transmitted on a 5 GHz radio frequency, while “b” and “g” travel on 2.4 GHz. The higher frequency means that the signal can travel less distance in free space and has a harder time penetrating walls, thus making the practical application of an 802.11a network a bit limited. The maximum transfer rate, however, is roughly 54 Mbps, so it makes up for its limited range with respectable speed.

As mentioned, 802.11b and 802.11g networks operate on a 2.4 GHz radio band, which gives a much greater range as compared to 802.11a. One downside to being on the 2.4 GHz band is that many devices share it, and interference is bound to be an issue. Cordless phones and Bluetooth devices are two of many items that operate at this frequency. The range of these two protocols is about 300 feet in free air, and the difference between the two comes down to speed. 802.11b came first, released back in 1999, and offers speeds up to 11 Mbps. 802.11g first appeared in 2002 and it is a backwards compatible improvement over 802.11b and offers speeds up to 54 Mbps.

On top of these protocols, some manufacturers have improved upon the 802.11g standard and can provide speeds of up to 108 Mbps. This doesn’t involve a separate protocol, but just a bit of tweaking in areas like better data compression, more efficient data packet bursting, and by using two radio channels simultaneously. Typically, stock 802.11g equipment is not capable of these speeds, and those interested need to shop for matched components that specify 108 Mbps support. I say “matched components” as this is not a standard protocol and the various manufacturers may take different approaches to achieving these speeds. In order to ensure the best results when trying to achieve these elevated speeds, components from the same manufacturer should be used together. For instance, only Netgear brand network adaptors rated for 108 Mbps data transfer should be used with something like the Netgear WG624 wireless router (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=WGT624NAR).

Considering your typical broadband Internet connection is going to offer data transfer rates of 10 Mbps or less, it can be seen that even 802.11b would be more than adequate if you just want to surf the web. Sharing files on your LAN (Local Area Network) is where the faster protocols will really make a difference, and comparing the prices of 802.11b and 802.11g components may show that there is little to no difference in selecting a “g” capable device over a comparable “b” capable device.


Access Point – Wireless Access Point (WAP) is the central device that manages the transmission of wireless signals on a network. A base access point may be capable of handling up to 10 connections, and more robust APs may be able to manage up to 255 connections simultaneously. The D-Link DWL-1000AP+ (http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=37) is an example of a wireless access point capable of 802.11b transmissions.

Router – In somewhat technical terms, a router is a network device that forwards data packets. It is generally the connection between at least two networks, such as two LANs, or a LAN and ISP’s (Internet Service Provider’s) network. For our purposes, and for the sake of simplicity, a wireless router is basically an access point with the added feature of having a port for sharing a broadband Internet connection. The D-Link AirPlus G (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=DI524-R&cat=NET) is an 802.11g capable router that provides access for numerous wireless connections and four hard-wired connections to one WAN (Wide Area Network Internet) connection. A typical router for home use will generally cost less than an access point, and via settings within the firmware, can be used as just an access point anyway. Wired or wireless, all the computers using the router can share files over the network, as well as sharing a broadband internet connection. Communication between wireless computers (or a wireless computer and a wired computer) will max out at 54 Mbps, while communication between wired computers will take full advantage of the 100 Mbps provided via the 802.3 protocol.

Network Adaptor – A network adaptor is required for every computer that you would like to be connected to the wireless network. Many laptops, such as this Sony Centrino 1.5 GHz (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=PCGZ1RA-R&cat=NBB) now include a wireless adaptor built in, so no extra hardware is needed. For those with systems that don’t have wireless capabilities built in, adding them is fairly simple, and can be done using a variety of connections. Desktop computers can go wireless by adding a PCI slot network adaptor such as the 802.11g capable D-Link DWL-G510 (http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=308). Notebook users can easily add wireless connectivity by using a PCMCIA adaptor, such as this 802.11g capable device (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=PBW006-N&cat=NET). And for truly convenient plug-n-play connectivity to wireless networks, USB adaptors such as this 802.11g capable dongle (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=80211GWUD&cat=NET) are available.

Antenna/Extender – These items are not essential, but given the specifics of a wireless environment, they may be helpful. Devices such as the Hawking Hi-Gain Antenna (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=HAI6SIP-N&cat=NET) or the Super Cantenna (http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SCB10&cat=NET) serve the purpose of increasing the wireless signal strength, and therefore extend the range of a given wireless network. Not only can a large area of open space be covered, but the signal quality may be improved in structures with walls and floors that obstruct the signal transmission.

Final Words

In this Tech Tip, we took a look at the basics of wireless networking as it relates to capabilities and hardware. In the second part of this two-part series, we will look at some of the basic setup and security considerations that should be addressed. The physical installation of a wireless network may be exponentially easier than a wired network, but the more difficult part is setting up the software and security to make sure everything stays up and running without incident.

Why Shop at Online Stores?

As the season changes, everyone wants to get out and buy cool clothes and dresses. Some prefer to go shopping with friends at all the trendy stores. A new season means a new wardrobe and a whole new line up clothes. While nothing beats the fun of hunting for a dress or the perfect pair of shoes with a friend, you can now do this more comfortably. I am, of course, talking about the vast array of online stores that have cropped up to cater to your every need.

Reason 1: Online stores come in all shapes and sizes, specifically speaking. They may cater to a particular type of shopper, or they may sell a wide variety of clothes and accessories. That is not the only purpose of online stores. At these websites you can find a lot of useful information about the latest trends. What is in this season? And what is out? You can find the answers to all these questions and more at these stores.

Reason 2: Online stores are not just places for women shoppers. Most stores have a separate section for men. The kid's section is also worth taking a peek at if you are looking for some new clothes for your toddler. In fact, the wide range of selections available often makes decisions a lot harder, but no less fun. Online stores make the shopping experience much easier and hassle-free. If you are not comfortable with the price tag of an item, you can simply look elsewhere. The World Wide Web is a big place, which means that there are countless places to shop. However, the best stores offer high quality dresses and accessories at affordable prices. Once you find a good online store, you should stick with it.

Reason 3: Do you know what is in style this season? You are sure to find all the trendiest clothes online. You can buy dresses online, and have them shipped right to your home. Many online stores even offer free shipping within the United States. The important thing to remember when shopping online is to keep an open mind and lots of available time on your hands. Most online stores stock more items than any of your local clothing stores. It is easy to get lost in a mire of fashionable clothes, accessories, and shoes. If you want to save time, then stick to the items you absolutely need and leave random browsing for a later time.

Digital and Conventional Presentation of Content

Displaying content is extremely important for any marketing agency. Ultrathin tubes have long replaced the old-fashioned and expensive Cathode-ray tubes. Internet connectivity, live TV streaming, videos, and images are the future of signage and modern marketing. Shopping malls, shops, and all other businesses prefer electronic display over wallpapers.

Digital signage applications include high-resolution display devices that are easy to use anywhere, indoor or outdoor. The modern way of displaying content includes versatility and innovation. For example, an electronic display can run a combination of media including videos, images, and text that even deliver a specific message.

With the passage of time, the global advertising industry is growing bigger and bigger. The electronic display has become the need of every modern business. Some of the purposes digital signage serve are:

  • Informational
  • Commercial
  • Experiential
  • Behavioral

It is rightly said that there is no success without the content. Electronic signage is considered to be a new way of displaying content to an audience. It offers variety and a number of interesting features that allow users to be creative in content management. We often see digital signs at public places and retail stores. Therefore, it has a cultural impact on customers and viewers.

A question arises when or not signage has emerged as a new and effective advertising source. The answer is a big yes as digital signage is gradually taking over the conventional and outdated advertising solutions. However, the significance of traditional display can not be under as they are cost-effective. Commercial places should be well equipped with the information that might help customers make a purchase decision.

The internet is used broadly across the globe. And the information provided on a computer allows us to check back and reach the content easily. It is easy to change and manage content on digital devices. Your success depends very much on how you are advertising your business. Therefore, use digital signs to promote and advertise your business or cause. Digital signage is expensive as compared to those simple and static display means. However, digital display has become mandatory for rapidly growing businesses.

The display industry can not keep itself apart from technological advances. However, some of the old-fashioned signage is still being used by many businesses in developed and developing countries. For instance, a banner or a decal is a very simple type of signage. The presence of highly advanced electronics signals could not outsmart old-fashioned sign systems. However, it is recommended to use the digital and interactive form of signs which can captivate the attention of customers.

All About Your 3G Internet Service

In the technology circle, there is much hue and cry about 3G internet services. It is a known fact to everyone that 3G stands for "3rd Generation", but very few are aware of this technology from its core. Basically, it's an initiative taken by the International Telecommunication Union to create a global wireless standard for mobile internet access. However, it requires a minimum mobile internet access speed which is comparable to DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet speed. To meet the technology standards, there needs to be high-volume voice services.

Unlike its predecessor 2G (2nd Generation) technology, which was discovered around voice applications including talking, call-waiting and voicemail, 3G technology emphasizes on internet and multimedia based applications that facilitate web browsing, music downloads, video conferencing etc. However, to access 3G network, your device need to support an information transfer rate of at least 200 Kbit / s. With the increased demand for high-speed internet services, the popularity of 3G is also surmounting. The technology has multiple benefits to offer, some of which are discussed below:

High-speed Internet on the Go: Before the advent of this technology, it was almost a dream to get access to high-speed internet on the go. Modern developments in mobile technology coupled with 3G has created great opportunities for users to surf internet at a blazing fast speed, even while they are traveling.

Reaches Remotest Corners: It's easy to find 3G access at places where wired connectivity is difficult to install. This helps minimize the gap in internet access in rural areas or areas with limited connectivity. The speed sometimes exceeds the speed of dial-up internet services.

Affordability: 3G standards benefited the rural people to a great extent. While it's expensive to set up wired connections at homes, the wireless internet costs less and offer better speed to the users. With the development of this telecommunication technology, users can now get high-speed connectivity even on their mobile devices.

Multimedia Usage: Both corporate and personal consumers benefit from the service as it facilitates the use of diverse multimedia applications and enhancements the wireless internet experience. It enables real-time video conferencing, music download at a faster speed, uploading and downloading files at a speed that equals to wired broadband services.

Stay Entertainment: Internet offers multiple ways to keep the users entertained. For lightning fast internet speed and seamless network availability, users can enjoy online gaming, listen to their favorite music or watch movies online with their 3G internet connection.

Although, 3G internet technology is getting momentum both in urban and rural areas, there are still some places where this technology is not as effective as metropolitan cities like New York and San Diego. While telecommunication experts are hopeful to enhance the reach of both 3G and 4G (4th Generation) networks and make the services more affordable for the users, the increased traffic and the usage of mobile devices are the two main issues of concern for the tech experts. Moreover, to sustain a balance in the environment, there needs to take more precautions, as wireless rays often cause harmful radiation, which have adverse impact on the environment.