IN THIS CHAPTER
As you probably know by now, with your mobile computer, you can surf the Internet without wires from remote locations such as poolside at luxury hotels, in airports, in coffee shops, and in bookstores. You can also use wireless technology to set up networks in your home or office that allow you to share files, to share a connection with the Internet, and much more.
The underlying wireless technology that makes this all work is popularly called Wi-Fi, which is short for wireless fidelity. You don't have to understand a whole lot about Wi-Fi to be able to make good use of it. Therefore, this chapter does not go into a great deal of technical detail about the various Wi-Fi standards. You'll find some of the gory, geeky details in Appendix A, "Wireless Standards," if you really want to know.
Still, there are a number of good reasons for you to have some basic understanding of how wireless technologies work and the alphabet soup of standards they use. A little information will help you make knowledgeable decisions when you buy equipment. Being educated will also make it easier for you to get rolling with your mobile Centrino computer to start working wirelessly.
This chapter tells you everything you really need to know about the wireless standards related to Wi-Fi. It also provides an overview of the two main conceptual issues that are likely to confront the novice user of wireless technology: how wireless networks work and how to connect to wireless hotspots on the road.