Sunday, August 27, 2006

The State of Wi-Fi

Everyone seems to have heard of Wi-Fi, or wireless computer networks. The differences between wired and wireless networks, and networking itself, may benefit from clarification.

Networking includes sharing a single Internet account, but it takes it's very name from the function of sharing files between computers and also for accessing shared printers and file servers. Yes, a home network--including Wi-Fi--permits file sharing directly between computers.

Computer networking is rapidly losing the association with office buildings. The 21st century home now considers wired networking infrastructure as commonplace, and necessary, as water, electricity, and telephone service.

Wi-Fi networking permits sharing the Internet, file sharing between computers, and accessing network printers in the manner reminiscent of a wired network, but wired is always better--always.

If you're remodeling your home, consider installing Ethernet network cabling inside the wall space with appropriate jacks and a network "room" or closet to be used for a printer, network router, and patch panel---I've gotten too deep in techie jargon--you're invited to discuss your home remodel and networking needs.

Brief comparison between Wi-Fi and Ethernet computer networks. The principal distinction is that Wi-Fi can be wildly unreliable and a security risk while offering convenience and lower cost.

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