Living the Wireless Life: Wireless Home Networking


Less widely used, more expensive
Decisions you'll need to make for your Wi-Fi to work at home and on the go
Protocol Pros Cons
802.11b Widely used, less expensive Older, slower
802.11g Faster
802.11b & 802.11g Best of both worlds -- fast and far-reaching like g cards, but works with the more prevalent b networks More expensive than cards that only recognize b, about the same as cards that only recognize g
Security encryption Pros Cons
40-bit Effectively keeps casual users off your network Easier to crack by an experienced hacker
128-bit The equivalent of a kryptonite lock -- much tougher to crack Although more difficult, can still be cracked by an experienced hacker
Other factors    
Desktop vs. laptop vs. PDA Wireless cards for desktops are completely different from wireless cards for laptops, and they are both completely different from wireless cards for PDAs. Make sure you buy a card that is designed for your equipment. If you have a desktop, laptop and PDA, you'll have to buy three different wireless cards.
Compatibility Just like wireless routers, wireless cards operate on different protocols. If you buy a b/g wireless router, also buy a b/g card. If you buy a wireless router that operates on g only and a wireless card that uses only b, they won't be able to communicate with each other..
Necessity Newer computers and PDAs may come with a wireless card already installed. If your device has built-in wireless capacity, you will only need to purchase a wireless router.

 

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