Get Online: Wireless Ways to Change Your Life

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Communications today require constant exchange of information between people at different locations instantaneously. Wireless technology facilitates just that. It has quickly revolutionized data exchange in our generation.

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Communications today require constant exchange of information between people at different locations instantaneously. Wireless technology facilitates just that. It has quickly revolutionized data exchange in our generation. The emergence of mobile, portable electronic devices has further empowered us. Texting, shopping, navigating, listening to music, gaming, watching videos, updating your social network profile… all of this can be done wirelessly, practically anywhere and at any time. The most popular way to connect to the internet today is using wireless data communication. At a minimum, the necessary hardware components are a wireless broadband router, an internet connection (broadband DSL or cable) and a device that is Wi-Fi enabled. A router links home computers to the Internet, allowing more than one user at your home to share a single Internet connection. They have filters that can monitor traffic and stop children from accessing unwanted sites and secure your home network from unwanted hackers (with a firewall). All devices connecting to a wireless router must have a working Wi-Fi network adapter. • Xbox/PlayStation or home entertainment product will have media adapters that bridge their Ethernet ports to a Wi-Fi wireless router. • Newer notebook computers contain integrated wireless adapter chips that allow fast set-up and access Most wireless routers come with easy setup CDs that will walk the user through various setup screens. If your router has one, this should be run first. Your laptop, if Wi-Fi ready and equipped with Windows 7, will automatically find your router and connect to it. A Mac OS will also find your router and connect when you open your Internet browser. It will ask for the name of the network and an encryption code which is a passphrase that you used when you configured the router. That’s it. You are web enabled. But that’s just scratching the surface of connectivity. When getting connected, it’s important to consider your connection’s speed. The slowest Internet service is dial-up (56.6 kilobits per second, or kbps). You really can’t effectively connect to the Web wirelessly with a dial-up connection. Mid-Range services available for homes include Cable Internet or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service, which can be as fast as 3000 kbps. Wireless networks are slower than wired Ethernets, and users typically connect at 1000 kbps (or 1 Mbps) to the Internet. Your choice will depend upon the ever-present “price vs. speed” trade-off for intended use. Talk with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) regarding their Internet services plans, and keep the following in mind: For the Casual User who connects in order to check email, listen to music and browse the web, 2Mbps (1Mbps upload speed) should be sufficient. For avid Entertainment Users who download pictures, enjoy light video streaming and gaming, 15Mbps (3Mbps upload speed) is a good place to start. And if you’re a Power User who has multiple users in a household, engages in frequent gaming, streaming and file sharing, subscribing to a service that offers 30-50Mbps (3-5Mbps upload speed is key. The Internet is an information superhighway that everyone these days has to get on, and the onramp can be complicated to navigate. But with a Wi-Fi ready computer, a wireless broadband router and an internet connection, you can be web ready in no time. And if you have a device which is already wireless enabled, like a laptop, smartphone or a gaming device, all you need is to be near a Wi-Fi hotspot and you can be surfing the world wide web in seconds!

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