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Why Go Wireless?

Unsure about letting your data fly through the air with the greatest of ease? Now’s a great time to cut the cord.

By Helen Thompson

Whether you’re traveling and want to stay in touch or want more portability in your office, wireless networking offers the flexibility and freedom to help you stay connected. If you’re on a wired network, you have an Ethernet card and a networking port that you plug a wire into. If you’re on a wireless network, you use a wireless network card. No cords needed.

“It’s fairly inexpensive to run one high-speed internet connection to your office and create an wireless access point,” says David Blumenfeld, vice president of JIWire.com, a resource site that houses a comprehensive wireless hotspot finder, product reviews, security tools and more. “From there, the amount of equipment and expertise you need to run the network is relatively minimal.”

By using wireless technology, you can access your email, account information and favorite internet sites anywhere there’s a wireless network available. If you configure your office for wireless, you can take your web-based presentation into the conference room without having to reconfigure your internet settings. If you configure your home for wireless, you can access important information anywhere in your home, even the back patio.

Staying connected through wireless technology can boost your productivity because you’re working on your terms.

Best of all, restaurants, hotels, airports, and sometimes entire communities are going wireless, which means you can plug in while you travel. Staying connected through wireless technology can boost your productivity because you’re working on your terms—whether that’s conducting your meeting over a casual lunch at a nearby café or delivering important files from an airport where you’re snowed in.

What is Wi-Fi?
Just like hi-fi once referred to high-fidelity audio systems, Wi-Fi has become a standard name for “wireless fidelity,” the universal standard that allows all the different kinds of computers out there to interface with a wireless network.

Wi-Fi compatibility means that your wireless network card will work at any wireless access point (WLAN). That may be the wireless router you have at home or work or the mobile “hotspot” at the coffee shop or other commercial or public outlets.

Think safety
You could leave your wireless network open to the world, but you shouldn’t. Nearly all wireless solutions offer encryption and password-access options so that your data and WLAN remain secure.

If you travel or work remotely often, you may want to look into subscriptions to your favorite wireless hotspots to avoid racking up a la carte access fees. In addition, if you’re using public hotspots, you may want to look into additional security. “Wi-Fi operates on the same bandwidth as your cellphone, and it is easier to hack into,” says Blumenfeld. “While that’s not a problem if you have security enabled on your virtual private network, you could run into problems when traveling or using smaller networks.” So along with your popup blockers, adware prevention programs and virus-protection software, make sure you have a Wi-Fi security application installed on your laptop computer—especially if you’re about to pay for that public access with a credit card number.

For more information, check out these websites.

 


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