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Understanding Wireless Networks

Wireless at Home.
When most people talk about wireless networks, they are talking about wireless
LANs (local area networks). A local area network doesn't mean that it covers your
whole neighborhood -- the 'local area' in question can be only one building, such
as your house. So if you want wireless networking in your home, you want a
wireless LAN.
Once people have wireless in their home, they always seem to act as if there's
been an absolute miracle. After years of drilling holes in the walls and running
wires all over the place, suddenly seeing them gone is really amazing.
The Myths.
Wireless networking is expensive. Well, wireless networking used to be expensive
when it was new, but now the prices have come way down thanks to competition
and mass production. There are hundreds of manufacturers of wireless
equipment, with something for every budget. Your costs will depend on how many
computers you want to connect and how far apart they are, but a typical family
should still be able to do it for less than $100 overall. If you're willing to leave one
of the computers on whenever you're using the other one, you could do it for as
little as $20! Best of all, once you've spend the money, there's nothing more to
pay after that.
Wireless networking is hard. Again, this myth is a holdover from the early days of
wireless. It used to be very difficult, with you needing to fiddle endlessly with the
configuration on each computer just to get the simplest things to work. Now,
though, Windows supports wireless out of the box, and setting it up is easier than
ever. You can usually plug in what you've bought, put the CD in the computer and
then sit back and watch it all work perfectly!
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