Wireless computing on the go
Wi-Fi was probably one of the most revolutionary transitions in modern times. Before the advent of Wi-Fi or wireless computing technology, users were
tethered to their desks, routing everything through a LAN line and restricted in where they used their faster and more powerful computing technology
by how long their cables were. Wi-Fi changed all that. Suddenly, you had a mobile network that allowed people the freedom to roam and still connect
to the Internet and their emails.
A sociological transformation
It is easy to underestimate the impact of wireless computing. It has become a common sight to see cafÃ©s full of people all connected up to a server,
yet not a cable in sight. An entire business has grown up around wireless computing - the Internet cafÃ© - that lets anyone, for a small charge,
piggyback the establishment's Wi-Fi connection and surf to their hearts content. It is even possible to connect wirelessly using a mobile phone - a
situation that would have been unthinkable 25 years ago when you were lucky if you could connect to another phone number using the first mobile
'bricks', let along the fledgling Internet.
It has released the constraints of an old system of doing business. But how does wireless computing actually work?
There are two types of what has become known as â€˜wireless' Internet - either connection through a router (your standard Wi-Fi) or through the
mobile phone network. Wireless routers are the most common form of land based system, and are fundamentally a small connection box that allows a
signal to be shared between several computers. Basically, computers â€˜tap in' to the signal, which can be made even easier by adding a wireless
interface card. These usually come as standard with most new laptops, but can be bought as a separate add-on. USB routers and dongles also give
anyone the power to be able to tap into any wireless signal, creating their own â€˜access points' through which the computer can send and receive
Another key component