Tech Guide: Wireless network purchases

Tech Guide: Wireless network purchases

Summary: Here's what you need to know about wireless networking, from the standards and technologies to the best products for your home or office. 1.

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Here's what you need to know about wireless networking, from the standards and technologies to the best products for your home or office.

1. Zero in on the right network for you
3. Buy the right networking components
6. Let your network entertain you

Zero in on the right network for you

With so many possible ways to build a network, it pays to home in on the solution that best suits your needs before you buy. These user profiles will start you off in the right direction.

Usage types: Home network | Home-office network or telecommuter | Online gaming and entertainment | Hot-spot hopper | Internet services provider | Bluetooth broker

Home network  Home network
You can get ample bandwidth for sharing a broadband Internet connection without spending much. Even the slowest wireless gear is several times faster than cable or DSL. You may prefer to buy a kit that includes all of the basic networking gear, but you can also buy the components separately and connect them together. Exactly what you need will depend on how many systems you want to connect and where they are located.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
Cable/DSL broadband router Connects your Internet service to your network
Wireless access point Connects wireless adapters to your network
Wireless adapter Connects computers to your wireless network
Power-line adapter Connects computers to your power-line network
Home-office network or telecommuter   home network
If you use your home as an office, you need a robust network with reliable security. Wireless routers typically offer some protection, but a software firewall can provide an additional safeguard for your data. If you need to access your network from remote locations on business trips, you may even want to invest in a hardware VPN (virtual private network) firewall so that you can securely access your home network over the Internet.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
VPN firewall Protects your network from attacks over the Internet
Cable/DSL broadband router Connects your Internet service to your network
Wireless access point Connects wireless adapters to your network
Wireless adapter Connects computers to your wireless network
Power-line adapter Connects computers to your power-line network
Online gaming and entertainment   online gaming
If you want to be able to transfer large files over the network while streaming audio from a computer to your stereo or if you like to play bandwidth-intensive, multiplayer games, set your sights on a high-bandwidth solution, such as Ethernet, 802.11a, or dual band.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
Cable/DSL broadband router Connects your Internet service to your network
Wireless access point Connects wireless adapters to your network
Wireless adapter Connects computers to your wireless network
Power-line adapter Connects computers to your power-line network
Digital-media adapter Connects TVs and stereos to your network
Hot-spot hopper   budget user
Business travelers can now stay connected anywhere using wireless hot spots. Whether you are in an airport, a cafe, a public park, a shopping mall, or a parking lot, you may find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a public or commercial hot spot. With the right gear, hot-spot hopping is easy. Opt for a PC Card with a sensitive antenna, an external antenna connector, or a high-power output, and find out which wireless ISPs are available in your area.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
Wireless notebook Connects to hot spots with its built-in adapter
PDA with built-in Wi-Fi or CompactFlash adapter Connects to hot spots with its built-in adapter
Wireless adapter Connects notebooks to hot spots
Range-extending antenna Increases the range of your wireless adapter
Wireless Internet service Gives you Internet access at a variety of locations
Internet services provider   internet services provider
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to connect two or more houses wirelessly or to share an Internet connection with an entire building or neighborhood. Whether your objectives are philanthropic or commercial, building a hot spot can be done for less than the cost of a high-end notebook.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
Shareable or resalable Internet service Allows you to connect the general public to the Internet
Wireless access point with removable antenna Allows you to tailor your coverage area
Wireless adapter Allows your clients to connect to your service
Range-extending antenna Increases the range of your wireless access point
Power over Ethernet injector Lets you power an access point on a mast
Bluetooth broker   bluetooth broker
You don't need a full-blown local-area network to sync up your PDA with your computer or to transfer photos from your notebook to your printer. Bluetooth is designed for just such casual, close-range connections.

KEY COMPONENTS
What you need What it does
Bluetooth adapter Connects to other Bluetooth devices
Bluetooth printer kit Connects your printer to other Bluetooth devices
Bluetooth-enabled notebook Connects with other Bluetooth-enabled devices
Bluetooth-enabled PDA Connects with other Bluetooth-enabled devices

Topics: Security, Browser, Mobility, Networking, Telcos, Enterprise 2.0, Tech Industry

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