In the last few years the world has undergone a tremendous and unprecedented technological change with the attack of the Information Technology revolution. Earlier it was e-mail that changed the way people communicate, and then online shopping became the order of the day, gradually online banking caught up and the list goes on and on. The new trend, Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity, allows you to connect to the Internet from your couch at home, a bed in a hotel room or at school, all without wires. As author Harold Davis nicely puts, “Wi-Fi is a wireless technology just like a mobile phone and Wi-Fi enabled computers send and receive data indoors and out; anywhere within the range of a base station. Wi-Fi certification means that you will be able to connect anywhere there are other Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products — whether you are at home, the office, school and other public areas equipped with a Wi-Fi Access Point device” (35). Customers with the capability to tap into wireless Internet networks at certain universities and Starbucks coffee shops in US will soon be able to browse the Web in a very inexpensive way using the wireless internet technology
Wi-Fi WLAN use radio technologies called IEEE 802.11b or 802.11a to provide secure, reliable, fast wireless connectivity. Michael Galagher notes that, “A Wi-Fi WLAN can be used to connect computers to each other, to the Internet, and to wired networks (which use IEEE 802.3 or Ethernet)” (120). Wi-Fi WLANs operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands, with an 11 Mbps (802.11b) or 54 Mbps (802.11a) data rate or with products that contain both bands (dual band), so they can provide real-world performance similar to the basic 10BaseT wired Ethernet networks used in many networked environments.
Competition has already driven down the costs of deploying 802.11b networks which can now be deployed by businesses to give their employees mobility within the business. Home users can buy 802.11b kit to extend their DSL or cable broadband Internet access wirelessly to the entire house. James LaRocca points out that, “In universities and schools a wireless network can allow computers to be integrated more effectively into teaching as classes no longer need to be held in computer lab” (48).
In September of 1999, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) ratified the specification for IEEE 802.11b, also known as Wi-Fi. IEEE 802.11b defines the physical layer and media access control (MAC) sublayer for communications across a shared, wireless local area network (WLAN). As Theodore Rappaport states, “At the physical layer, IEEE 802.11b operates at the radio frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz) with a maximum bit rate of 11 Mbps. It uses the direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) transmission technique. At the MAC sublayer of the Data Link layer, 802.11b uses the carrier...