Internet connections in India basically were wired but recently the wireless technology has been used extensively. Wired internet connections have been the traditional choices in homes, but wireless technologies are gaining ground fast. Both wired and wireless networks have got some unique features which differentiate them from the other. Both also have certain advantages which the other lacks. But both wired and wireless connections can perform very well for home and other Local Area Connections (LANs).
Let’s see the features of wireless connections.
Wi-Fi networks can be configured in two different ways:
- “Ad hoc” mode allows wireless devices to communicate in peer-to-peer mode with each other.
- “Infrastructure” mode allows wireless devices to communicate with a central node that in turn can communicate with wired nodes on that LAN.
Most LANs require infrastructure mode to access the Internet, a local printer, or other wired services, whereas ad hoc mode supports only basic file sharing between wireless devices.
Both Wi-Fi modes require wireless network adapters, sometimes called WLAN cards. Infrastructure mode WLANs additionally require a central device called the access point. The access point must be installed in a central location where wireless radio signals can reach it with minimal interference. Although Wi-Fi signals typically reach 100 feet (30 m) or more, obstructions like walls can greatly reduce their range.
Wireless gear costs a little more than the equivalent wired Ethernet products. At full retail prices, wireless adapters and access points may cost three or four times as much as Ethernet cable adapters and hubs/switches, respectively. Bargain sales can be found if shoppers are persistent.
Wireless LANs suffer a few more reliability problems than wired LANs, though perhaps not enough to be a significant concern. Some wireless LANs signals are subject to interference from other home appliances including microwave ovens, cordless telephones, and garage door openers. With proper installation, the likelihood of interference can be reduced.
Wireless networking products, are comparatively new. As with any new technology, expect it will take time for these products to mature.
Wireless LANs support a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 11 Mbps. Furthermore, Wi-Fi performance is distance sensitive, meaning that maximum performance will degrade on computers farther away from the access point or other communication endpoint. As more wireless devices utilize the WLAN more heavily, performance degrades even further.
The greater mobility of wireless LANs helps offset the performance disadvantage. Mobile computers do not need to be tied to an Ethernet cable and can roam freely within the WLAN range. However, many home computers are larger desktop models, and even mobile computers must sometimes be tied to an electrical cord and outlet for power. This undermines the mobility advantage of WLANs in many homes.
In theory, wireless LANs are less secure than wired LANs, because wireless communication signals travel through the air and can easily be intercepted. To prove their point, some engineers have promoted the practice of wardriving, that involves traveling through a residential area with Wi-Fi equipment scanning the airwaves for unprotected WLANs. On balance, though, the weaknesses of wireless security are more theoretical than practical. WLANs protect their data through the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption standard, that makes wireless communications reasonably as safe as wired ones in homes.
No computer network is completely secure and homeowners should research this topic to ensure they are aware of and comfortable with the risks. Important security considerations for homeowners tend to not be related to whether the network is wired or wireless but rather ensuring:
- the home’s Internet firewall is properly configured
- the family is familiar with the danger of Internet “spoof emails” and how to recognize them
- the family is familiar with the concept of “spyware” and how to avoid it
- babysitters, housekeepers and other visitors do not have unwanted access to the network