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Shop, Surf or Send: Wireless Home Networks Deliver the Internet
by: ARA
(ARA) - The Internet is becoming as necessary as electricity and indoor plumbing. As its usefulness grows, so does the need to deliver a fast, reliable Internet connection to PCs and other home appliances.

Whether it’s downloading directions, instant messaging, uploading your favorite photos or simply sending e-mails with attachments, the Internet is the backbone of modern communication. Today, access to it is as critical at home as it is in the workplace. For that reason, many new homes are built with telephone, cable and Category 5 (Ethernet data cable) wiring bundles; making high-speed data transfer only a plug-in away. However, most people don’t have the convenience of Ethernet jacks throughout their homes, resulting in expensive and messy data cable installations. In 2002, more than 1.5 million homeowners installed their own wireless network, and if Jupiter Research is right, these wireless networks will surpass wired ones by 2005.

The Web’s transition from a place for text and images to one that includes a repository of video, animation and audio is proceeding rapidly. New uses of the Web require higher-speed Internet connections, and its usefulness is greatly enhanced by the ability to share those connections.

The evolution of wireless technology reflects that “need for speed,” as the newest generation of products categorized as 802.11g are typically five times faster than the older technology (802.11b). The new 802.11g technology is compatible with earlier products and handles data transfer typically at 54 mega bits per second (Mbps) compared to 11 Mbps of 802.11b. However, products from U.S. Robotics 802.11g Wireless Turbo family perform at an incredible 100 Mbps with the company’s exclusive Accelerator Technology. At these blazing speeds, downloading MP3s, streaming video, large audio clips and uploading big files is quick and painless.

What’s Needed?

Creating a reliable, wireless network requires only three things. First on the list is an Internet connection. While broadband (DSL or Cable Internet) is a necessity for high-speed downloads, dial-up can work if wireless connectivity is the main goal. With broadband, the service likely has a modem device (with a single Ethernet port to connect to the computer), or a router (with multiple-Ethernet ports).

The second thing you need is a wireless access point or router. That piece of equipment allows you to share the broadband connection wirelessly. If you have an integrated router/broadband modem you will only need an access point. If you have a single port broadband modem, you will need an access point with an integrated router. You will also need a wireless card or adaptor to allow PCs and other devices to access the wireless network. They come in three basic formats: PC cards for laptops, PCI cards for desktop PCs, and USB for any machine that supports USB. Installing a network is relatively easy and will dramatically change the way the Internet is used at home.

Look Ma, No Wires!

The beauty of wireless connectivity is that it provides an inexpensive and relatively simple way to share Internet connectivity, files, printers and other devices within a home. No new wires! In purchasing a network’s components, the following should be taken into consideration.

* Speed -- Faster is better. It may not make much difference today, but it will later.

* Security -- There are several techniques to provide security for a wireless network and the higher-bit encryption numbers offer better security.

* Compatibility -- 802.11g devices run at a minimum of 54Mbps, and are typically compatible with the older 11Mbps 802.11b products but not with 22Mbps 802.11b+ products.

* Coverage -- Pay attention to what vendors say (or don’t say) about the size of coverage areas.

* Reputation -- Go with a company that you are confident will be around in the future. Over time these products often can be upgraded with software enhancements that provide improved performance or new features.

Setting up your wireless network is easier than putting together a child’s first bicycle and will be an important addition to your home for many years to come.

For more information about wireless networking products, visit and go wireless today! Products from U.S. Robotics 802.11g Wireless Turbo family are also available for purchase at Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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