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A Story Problem: What allows users to connect to the internet without using wires?
Technology: Learn how this technology works.
Application: Wireless networking can be used for file and resource sharing on  PAN's, LAN's, and WAN's.
Concerns: Understand the health concerns and security risks.
Feasibility: How practical is this technology? Will the average person ever use it?
Bibliography: Want More Information? Follow these great links.

The Author: Nicholas I Ward
Nicholas Ward holds a BA in Communication. He has worked at Radio Shack since 1996 offering networking solutions as they have evolved on the consumer market. 

 
Concerns

Health | Security

Wireless networking currently operates in an unregulated radio band.  Wireless access points utilize a 2.4 GHz signal with an output power of 15 dBm.  Cell phones use an 800MHz or 1.9 GHz signal and output from 0.006 to 0.6 of a watt for handheld units and three to six watts for portable units. 

Research shows that even low-level radiation can cause memory loss, effects similar to that of pesticide, and deficiencies in the immune system.  Place a hotdog in a microwave for more than 30 seconds to see what radiation can do. 

Microwave ovens use radio waves at a 2.45GHz frequency at an output of 800 to 1000 watts to heat foods or boil water.  This particular frequency is absorbed by water molecules. It agitates the molecules in your food and causes them to heat up.  Wireless access points use the same frequency with less power.  Increasing the number of wireless transmitters increases the amount of radiation in that area. Enough transmitters could begin to act as a giant microwave oven, only you are the hotdog.

EMR Network
Microwave Ovens
Cell Phone Radiation
More Info...
 

Security | Health

Wireless networks are designed for easy access.  They allow users to connect to a network so long as they are within range.  But what if you don't want every user to access your network.  Imagine a stranger walking into your home and borrowing bandwidth from your Internet connection.  Your connection slows down and he doesn't pay a thing.
This is exactly what can happen to your wireless network, be it at home or the office.  A user can access a wireless network without permission, use your Internet connection, and even access the other computers on the network, and for free no less. 

WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy is the security measure for the wireless networking 802.11b standard.  It has two levels of encryption: 64-bit and a 128-bit.  Both should be considered insecure. But currently these encryptions are better than nothing at all.  They may deter a leeching user from pursuing access to your network.

PC Magazine’s Craig Ellison recommends in his article “Wireless LAN’s at Risk” that wireless network administrators use whatever security measures are currently available, assume that the network is public and keep sensitive data elsewhere, and purchase wireless access points that have upgradeable security.  Security programs are being developed, be ready when they come out.

More Info...

A Story Problem
Technology
Application
Concerns
Feasibility
Read the story carefully, then answer the question.
Wireless networking is very similar to cellular systems.
Uses for a wireless network.  PAN, LAN, and WAN
Security measures for wireless networking.  Health concerns with radio transmission.
Cost, availability, and standardization necessary to  realize wireless networking.

Bibliography for more information...

 A Two Cents Production Copyright 2001 Nicholas Ward
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