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What is Wi-Fi or 802.11?
Article Number: 17 | Rating: 5/5 from 1 votes | Last Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Wi-Fi is short for Wireless Fidelity, Wi-Fi is a user-friendly name for devices that have been certified by (WECA) Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance to conform to the industry-standard wireless networking specification IEEE 802.11b. Wi-Fi began appearing in products in the late part of 1998 and today they are visible everywhere. The current standard provides access to Ethernet networks such as a corporate LAN or the Internet at super-fast speeds of up to 11 megabits per second in the 2.4GHz band. (for example, 2.4GHz for 802.11b or 11g, 5GHz for 802.11a)
Wi-Fi connections can be made up to about 300 feet away from a "hot spot" (slang for a Wi-Fi networking node). When your notebook or PDA has a Wi-Fi networking card or built-in chip, you can surf the Internet at broadband speeds wirelessly. Wi-Fi networking nodes are proliferating globally; many Starbucks locations, for instance, offer access to Wi-Fi hot spots for a fee. Many portable PCs today have IEEE 802.11b built-in; those that don't can be adapted via Wi-Fi connectivity PC Cards. Wi-Fi is also the basis for some home networking products, allowing you to share high-speed Internet connections without the hassle of running cables. Late last year, products featuring a newer wireless networking specification, IEEE 802.11a (called Wi-Fi5 by WECA), debuted. This standard provides transmission speeds of up to 54 mbps. Wireless networking is expected to grow in popularity as a practical, flexible way to replace some LANs. For a chart on Wireless LAN standards click here.
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