The Internet is possible because all computers and networks use
a common language. This language, known as TCP/IP, allows data to
be transferred from one computer to another through a network of other
computers. Once a computer connects to this network, it can access
computers in the same room, across town, or on the other side of the world.
system requires that wires connect each of the computers in the network.
It's a great technology but kinda hard to use outdoors.
Letís look at cellular phones. A cell phone uses radio to
transmit to a cell tower. As long as the cell phone is in range of
the tower, calls can be made. Over the past few years, the transmissions
have been coded into oneís and zeroís. This digital signal allows
more people to talk on the same tower at the same time.
An identical technology has been brought into the home. Many
homes have a cordless phone. Again, as long as the cordless phone
is in range of the base, calls can be made. Cordless phones are also
using digital technology to give users better clarity, further range, and
increased privacy. A 900MHz cordless phone may work as far as 300
feet from the base. A 2.4GHz cordless phone may work up to one mile
from the base. (2.4 GHz may receive interference from microwave ovens.)
The same system is used for home wireless networking, only the names
of the devices change. A Wireless Access Point (WAP) takes the place
of the cellular tower or cordless phone base. A Wireless Network
Adapter (WNA) connects to a computer and becomes the cell phone or cordless
handset part of the system.
WAP allows any nearby WNA to connect through it. So, if you connect
an Access Point to your Internet connection, all of your computers with
Network Adapters will be able to access the Internet. Also, each
of your computers will be able to access the others on this network.
They can transfer files, access programs, or play video games, all without
a physical wire.
Simply increasing the broadcast range allows computers anywhere
inside the range of the access point to connect to the Internet.
Obviously, one access point cannot reach everywhere. However, increasing
the number of access points will allow computers to connect throughout
a larger geographic area.
Thatís right the network of access points would begin to look very
similar to that of cellular towers.