So you’re sitting in the airport, waiting for a relative to arrive after a 13 hour flight. Naturally, you come prepared and have arrived at the airport two hours before the flight is scheduled to land. So how do you pass the time? Luckily you brought your laptop with and can simply connect to the web to pass the time – right there in the terminal. This is all made possible thanks to wireless Internet.
Allow me to explain this nifty phenomenon. The name wireless Internet access speaks for itself, it is Internet which you can access, wirelessly. Basically, it is a local area network (LAN) run by radio waves, rather than wires.
Simply put, the Internet is distributed from a supplier and fed into an ISP’s data centre. From the ISP’s data centre it is sent through terrestrial networks to high site towers. Clients receive the signal from the high site tower from there it’s sent using a cable to your computer. Now this last step is the key difference between wireless and wi-fi. You may connect the cable from the antenna into a wireless router, which then allows you the ability to connect your laptop, ipad, tablet or cell phone to the web – without the use of any cables.This process is then called wi-fi.
Here is a simple explanation for the wireless Internet process:
Internet->ISP Data Centre->Terrestrial or Wireless Network->High Site->Client Receiving Equipment->Cable or Wireless (wi-fi)->Your Laptop
Pros and Cons to having a wireless Internet connection
- Coverage – Even though wireless coverage is limited, things have drastically changed over the past ten years and good coverage is easily accessible within a certain range. In addition, extending the range is easily done with extender – and range boosters if required.
- Cost – Over the past few years wireless routers have become more affordable, so now the costs of setting up a wireless network is no longer unreasonable and all laptops and consumer devices such as tablets have wireless receivers built in
- Unlimited Users – Unlike a wired network that comes with 3 or 4 connection ports and requires a switch for additional expansion, a wireless network can add more users without needing to change hardware.
- Easily Setup – A wireless network can be just as easily set up as wired networks and adding more computers to the network is just as easily accomplished. Fixing wires is no longer a necessity and users can now move around within signal range as they please.
- Signal Stability – Sometimes you may experience black spots within your range of coverage. This may be caused by the signal experiencing difficulty passing through certain building materials or from an area with significant radio interference. You may need to do some experimenting to find the perfect stability.
- Speed – Even though wireless is a considerable amount faster than dial-up connections, your average speed tends to be less than that of an Ethernet connection. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration if your business will be relying solely on a wireless network. At the same time speeds are constantly evolving.
Installing a wireless network in your home or business is a simple and cost effective way to network. These networks are definitely something to look into if your household has more than one computer / device. Things are progressing fast in the ISP industry and soon enough the negatives we now face for wireless connections will be a thing of the past, so wireless may not be your preferred choice of connection at this stage, but sometime in the near future that may change.