Wireless networking is a great and convenient way to connect your computer and other electronic devices to the internet. However, many people are still confused as to what it is and how it works. Here are the basics to help you get started.
What is Wireless Networking?
Almost all computers now make use of networks-webs of connection to other computers. This can mean a few computers around the house, or the billions around the world connected to the internet. Traditionally, all computers had to be connected physically by a cable in order to be in a network. With the development of wireless networking, however, computers are now able to communicate using electromagnetic waves.
How does Wireless Networking Work?
There are many kinds of wireless networks that work in various ways. To keep it simple, however, we’ll just stick to the basics. Since networking is most commonly done with the internet, we’ll use that example. The internet is brought into homes and other locations through physical wires: phone lines, television cables, and others. At this point, the connection needs to be converted to the wireless signal waves.
This is done with what is known as a wireless router. Routers are hubs that connect several computers together, and often link them to the internet. In order to establish a wireless network, the wireless router is directly connected to the physical link to the internet. Once it is set up, it begins transmitting to wireless-enabled devices within its ranges and receives information back from then.
Why go Wireless?
The main reason wireless is useful is the convenience generated by the mobility it allows. Before, people were chained to the wires connecting them to their networks. Once, that wasn’t a problem because most computers were so big they couldn’t be moved around anyway, and other wireless devices like phones weren’t advanced enough. However, with the development of laptops, tablet computers, and similar mobile devices, networking by physical connection became an extreme burden. Wireless networks erase this problem; the best wireless router can provide a connection out to nearly a kilometer. Someone with wireless in their home can take a laptop from the kitchen table their front yard to their bed and still be connected wherever they go.
Further, wireless networks erase the mess created by having cables running everywhere to keep all your electronics connected. Many devices, including digital cameras and printers, are now capable of automatically connecting to networks just like laptops. A good example of this is the canon wireless printer, which lets you send files directly from a computer or camera to be printed without having to connect the two.