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If you've been in an airport, coffee shop, library or hotel recently, chances are you've been right in the middle of a wireless network. Many people also use wireless networking, also called WiFi or 802.11 networking, to connect their computers at home, and some cities are trying to use the technology to provide free or low-cost Internet access to residents. In the near future, wireless networking may become so widespread that you can access the Internet just about anywhere at any time, without using wires.
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WiFi has a lot of advantages. Wireless networks are easy to set up and inexpensive. They're also unobtrusive -- unless you're on the lookout for a place to use your laptop, you may not even notice when you're in a hotspot. In this article, we'll look at the technology that allows information to travel over the air. We'll also review what it takes to create a wireless network in your home.

Benefits of Wireless LANs
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 wireless LAN networking provides the following benefits:
  * Wireless connections can extend or replace a wired infrastructure in situations where it is costly, inconvenient, or impossible to lay cables. This benefit includes the following:
      * To connect the networks in two buildings separated by a physical, legal, or financial obstacle, you can either use a link provided by a telecommunications vendor (for a fixed installation cost and ongoing recurring costs) or you can create a point-to-point wireless link using wireless LAN technology (for a fixed installation cost, but no recurring costs). Eliminating recurring telecommunications charges can provide significant cost savings to organizations.
      * Wireless LAN technologies can be used to create a temporary network, which is in place for only a specific amount of time. For example, the network needed at a convention or trade show can be a...