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Connect Wirelessly



A wireless network allows computers to connect to a local area network (LAN) without cables. In order to connect there must be a wireless access point (AP) attached to a node of your LAN. The AP uses a radio frequency to connect to a wireless adapter on your computer. This adapter can be built in or added as an internal  PCI card or as a USB device. By searching available wireless networks on a computer with a properly installed network card you can see the wireless access points that are within range. These access points are identified by a Service Set Identifier (SSID) which is programmed in the AP. The wireless network is either secure or not secure. A secure network uses a wireless encryption key that has to be entered into the AP as well as  the adapter with the correct type of encryption. (ie. WEP / WPA). A secure network can only be accessed by a computer with this key, while a non secure network can be accessed by any wireless computer. An example of this would be  WIFI access in a public location. The distance that an Access Point will reach depends on the equipment and the antenna that is attached. Some access points will accept external antennas that extend the distance. I want to mention that the frequency of wireless networks can be the same as some cordless phones and microwave ovens. This can cause some problem with the signal of the wireless computer or cordless phone. Another problem that may arise would be too many, or conflicting access points and in some cases – wireless security cameras. There is a range of radio channels that can be set on an access point and may have to be changed to avoid these conflicts.

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