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Description Wireless Network Technology
Wireless network technology is any computer network that does not use any physical means for connection like cables. This is a way in which computers and telecommunications networks infrastructures installations utilize a cost effective method by avoiding cables. Wireless telecommunications networks implementation and administration uses radio waves. This implementation occurs at the physical layer of the OSI model.
Function of the Wireless Networking Technology
A wireless local area network is capable of connecting two or more devices using wireless distribution method of spread-spectrum or OFDM radio to provide a connection through an access point to the wide area internet. This has an advantage of mobility allowing users to move within a given local area network. Modern WLANs, marketed under the Wi-Fi brand name, are mostly based on IEEE 802.11 standards. Wireless LANs are less expensive and easy to install thus becoming popular in most residential area. They offer wireless access point to their customer almost for free.
The origin and evolution of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) and more broadband wireless technologies, like Wi-Fi and 3G were implemented due to the demand for internet access services. It is pointed out that cables provided insufficient broadband capacity that could not satisfy the large growing internet users. Therefore, companies started coming up with high speed permanent wireless solutions to substitute the cable broadband system. Broadband is a telecommunication device having a higher bandwidth. The first broadband connection internet was the cable modem with the first subscriber in 1997. However, it didn’t start until 2001.
Classification of Wireless LAN:
Wireless LANs can be broadly categorized into two: ad hoc wireless LANs and infrastructure wireless LAN. In ad hoc networks, a peer-to-peer communication is established by joining several wireless nodes. There is a direct client’s communication within the network. In Ad-hoc mode, only the clients who are within a given transmission range can communicate. If a client in an ad-hoc network desires to have a communication outside of the cell, a cell member have to operate as a gateway performing routing. Since no administration is needed, networked nodes resources are shared without requiring a central server.
In wireless LANs infrastructure, there is a high-speed wired or wireless backbone network. Wireless nodes access the wired network through access points allowing the wireless nodes to share efficiently the available network resources. Wireless clients and access points must establish a relationship, or an association, prior to communicating data. Two wireless stations can only exchange data when an association is established.
Enhancing Data Rate:
It is essential to improve the current data rates in support of future high speed applications, especially in providing multimedia data services. Data rate being a function of various factors like the data compression algorithm, data transfer protocol and the power control Hence, it is of great importance that manufacturer develop a well thought out prototype that put in mind these factors in order to get higher data rates.
Low Power Design:
The battery size and power limitation is a great hindrance on the network range that can be supported by any wireless LAN. The power consumption of these wireless devices vary in a great way, depending on implementation of the wireless LAN spread spectrum technology in use. Normally, direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) based implementations and differs from frequency hopped spread spectrum (FHSS) in the aspect of power thirst where DSSS consume twice or thrice the equivalent power of FHSS system. The complex circuitry, however, provides a merit of error recovery capability to DSSS in comparison to FHSS systems. This is the right time for researchers and developers to loom these issues in wireless LAN technologies from a global perspective (Stallings, 2012).
As in most technology, security pose a great threat in wireless networking especially in business oriented applications and e-commerce applications. Users’ mobility raises the threats in a wireless network. Data authentication and encryption techniques on the air interface provide security to its users. Wired equivalent privacy (WEP) is described by the IEEE 802.11 standard that defines a method to secure data between the personal computer (PC) card and the access point of the wireless LAN. An IP network security in large enterprises may ensure that the entire network and proprietary data are safe protected. Fixed access networks are made reliable to access by development of Virtual private network (VPN) .Wireless security features have to be updated constantly so as to be a step ahead of hackers (Stallings,2012).
The Use of Radio Frequency Technology to Propagate through Space
Interference can be on either direction inward or outward. Taking for example a radio-based LAN, inward interference from either the harmonics of transmitting systems using similar radio frequencies locally. Many wireless LANs uses S band (2.4GHz) for transmission and reception of signals. This band also finds its application in microwave ovens operation. These signals takes more time due delays to the user transmissions being blocked from the station or causing bit errors to happen in sent data in a LAN. Newer products utilizing Bluetooth radio technology operates in S band and can interfere with wireless LANs. This is mainly in remote areas with poor wireless LAN access point. Finally, outward interference takes place when a signal of wireless network interfere with other systems, such as neighboring wireless LANs and aircraft navigation equipment (Goldsmith,2005).
802.11 Standards in all Type of Network and WLAN Products
Interoperability is treated as a significant issue of wireless LANs. Pre-802.11 (proprietary) wireless LANs still exist, frequency-hopping, direct sequence 802.11 versions and vendor-specific enhancements using 802.11- compliant products have made interoperability questionable. Developing radio cards and access points from one manufacture could ensure interoperability with wireless LANs, if possible.
The mechanism by which ongoing connections between a Mobile host and an Access point is transferred from one BTS to the other is called handoff. Handoff occurs in reference with signal strength reception from the current cell to a new cell. Present handoff mechanisms are only based on signal strength and are not concerned with the load of the new cell (Stallings, 2012).
With no negotiation of QOS characteristics, the new AP ensures smooth handoff from old to new AP. Several methods have now been proposed by researchers to have a smooth handoff between access points.
WiMAX i.e. referred as being interoperable implementations of the IEEE 802.16 family of wireless-networks standards of WiMAX approval Forum. Similarly, Wi-Fi also refers to interoperable implementations of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN principles licensed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. WiMAX Forum official recognition allows selling of WiMAX certified fixed or mobile products thus ensuring a level of compatibility with other certified products of the same profile (Goldsmith, 2005).The writer continues to explain that the original IEEE 802.16 standard changed to Fixed WiMAX as it was published in 2001. WiMAX borrowed some technology from WiBro which is a Korea marketed service. Mobile WiMAX was originally based on 802.16e-2005 standard, but its revision was deployed in a number of countries and with hope of revision to 802.16m-2011 standard. WiMAX which is sometimes referred as “Wi-Fi” applications include: broadband connections, hotspots, triple-play, backhaul etc. Wi-Fi is similar to WiMAX, but it allows usage less much greater distances.
Mobile WiMAX replaced contestant for cellular phone technologies like GSM, TDMA and CDMA, as increase capacity. Fixed WiMAX is also taken as a wireless backhaul technology for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in all nations.
In North America, for urban backhaul operations is provided through copper wire lines connections, but for remote cellular operations are backhauled through satellite in some occasions. Microwave links are sometimes used in urban and rural backhaul in some regions (Stallings, 2012).
Original analog network is still maintained by the wireless industry though largely forgotten these days. There are still places and situations where analog is the only signal prevailing, although these are now mainly in remote rural locations.
If one has a CDMA or TDMA phone with an analog mode and your carrier does not have digital service at the place want to make use of your phone, being in a position to utilize the analog network. In accordance with your rate plan, in such usage occasion may incur roaming charges, but having it available provides an added layer of coverage for anyone visiting sparsely occupied regions. Analog backup is absent on GSM or Nextel phones and a number of the newer CDMA phones can support digital bands only (Andrews et al, 2007).
Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) – is a high speed internet and network connection without a physical means. WiFi is the simpler and cheaper to set up and run than a wired network – since there are no wires/cables and allowing one to move a computer quickly and easily around a home without worry of the closest phone socket. It also allows one to connect multiple computers to the one in easily.
Outside the house, WiFi evolution is growing tremendously for global coverage. WiFi does not have a range that is similar to Cell Phones, but it allows simple, easy and remote access to the internet within hotspot.
WiFi technology is growing fast and is almost becoming second-nature in people’s lives like Television and Cell Phones. Cables oriented communication system will be history well preserved in archives in the near future. This is 21st century bus that one needs to get on board pure and simple with no regrets.
WiFi works exactly in a similar way to a Television or Cell Phone works. They use no cable for information transmission with even the computer once one starts using WiFi (Ross, 2008). WiFi uses radio waves to communicate to and from the internet or computer network. When a website wants to transmit and receive information with a computer it sends the information to the modem as it does now on a wired connection, then the information is linked to a wireless router, where it is then converted to radio waves and beamed to a computer. The computer then interprets the radio waves using the installed hardware/software precisely for wireless networking. The reverse process takes place when the computer needs upload information to the internet. All these processes happen in a fraction of a second. In most cases, wireless connection is faster than a wired broadband connection.
Areas where radio signals can be picked up by a computer is what is referred to as WiFi hotspot. At home, a wireless router makes the entire home a hotspot. Away from home, public places like libraries, airports, hotels and a number of upcoming cafes, and many other places. There are people who can crack most hotspot security as most are secured for privacy and this practice can be illegal in certain nations, although the laws are in most cases not certain (Ross, 2008).
As more hotspots appear, WiFi coverage is expanding and widely becoming used. Eventually WiFi coverage will be in the same rank as the Cell Phone network.
The WiFi operates on a higher frequency (2.4GHz or 5GHz) while Cell Phones work below the 1GHz level striking difference between the two. The higher the frequency, the higher the amount of data transferred.
Businesses services require the use of wireless networks to communicate data quickly to collaborates, in a small office or across the world. It provides a fast way to internet connection in nations and geographical regions where the telecommunications infrastructures are not the best or lack of resources as in most developing countries. Wireless networks are, however usually slower than the directly connected Ethernet cable. A wireless network is more vulnerable, because anyone can try to hack into a network-broadcasting signal (Andrews et al, 2007).
Many networks provide Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) which is security systems that have been found to be vulnerable to invasion. Although, WEP does pose a threat to some interloper, the security fear have caused some businesses to rely on wired system until security can be enhanced.
The WPA - Wi-Fi Protected Access provide security for wireless networks. WPA is better security wise than a WEP security in wireless networks. In addition, firewalls also help with security breaches, which can help in fixing security problems in various wireless network that are more vulnerable (Turow, 2009).
Personal Area Network (PAN).
This covers your immediate working area and can be used in wirelessly connection to a computer keyboard, mouse and printer other than on a larger scale use.
Wireless Network Technology History
Timeline and Brief History for the Development of Wireless Fidelity
The evolution of wireless network cannot make sense without naming its inventor Mr. Marconi who invented the wireless telegraph in 1896. His invention introduced the alphanumeric characters encoded in an analog signal. This made wireless network equipment possible. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers found the wireless networking standards with the standard for Wi-Fi being 802.11a. This encoding gave way to electronic devices accessing high speed internet around 300 feet from the base station. He mentioned that the current wireless networking technology is digital and no longer using an analog signal. He designed and implemented the TCP/IP-based and OSI-based protocol for computers and operating systems (Turow, 2009).
The early network named the telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in 1838. In 1971, the ALOHANET is the first network communication developed at the University of Hawaii( Andrews et al,2007). The framework of the network consisted of seven computers spread out over the islands and communicated with the central computer through radio transmission. In the early 1980s, the Ethernet was developed carrying more data rate than the radio network this resulting in steering away, several companies from radio networking. In 1985, the wireless LAN (WLAN) and the cellular system were developed, these technologies are still in use today to provide wireless network. The history leading to development of cellular system and wireless LAN was given by Dr. Andrea Goldsmith. She stated that the digital communication network of today changed from radio-based network.
The world’s first wireless computer communication network was made by Norman Abramson, ALOHANET, using ham like radios at low-cost. The system comprised of seven computers placed in four islands for communication with the central computer on the Oahu Island wirelessly (Stallings, 2012).
A paper in the IEEE proceedings reporting a wireless local area network experiment using diffused infrared communications was published by F.R. Gfeller and U. Bapst in 1979. Shortly afterwards, in 1980, a single code spread spectrum radio which was an experimental application for wireless terminal communications in Telecommunications Conference for IEEE was reported by P. Ferrert. In 1984, Kaveh Pahlavan compared infrared. CDMA spread spectrum communications (CDMASSC) for wireless office information networks and was published by in IEEE Computer Networking Symposium which later ingot it way in the IEEE Communication Society Magazine. In May 1985, FCC announced experimental ISM bands for commercial application of spread spectrum technology in courtesy of Marcus. Later on, an experimental wireless PBX system that used code division multiple accesses was reported by M. Kavehrad. All these notable significant industrial activities, in generation of wireless local area networks, updated most of old discussions in the portable and mobile radio industry (Ross, 2008).
The wireless data modems of the first generation were implemented in the early 1980s by unprofessional radio operators, referring it as packet radio. There was an addition of a voice band data communication modem, which had 9600-bit/s and below of data rates for a short distance radio system which exist. The wireless modems of second generation were developed immediately following the FCC announcement of the experimental bands of the spread spectrum technology for non-military use. With these modems, data rates on the order of hundreds of Kbit(s) were provided. The wireless modem of third generation then had a great task of compatibility with the existing LANs which had Mbit(s) of data rate. Many companies adopted the third generation products, having data rates above 1 Mbit(s), with a couple of products being already announced before the first IEEE Workshop on Wireless LANs (Andrews et al,2007).
IEEE Workshops on Wireless LAN were held in 1991 when early wireless LAN products were new in the market and the IEEE 802.11 committee had just begun developing a standard for wireless LANs. The first workshop was focused on the evaluation of the alternative technologies.
Events and social factors that influence the need for Wireless Networking Technology
By 1996, the technology was wide spread and more mature, with a variety of applications being identified and addressed. The technologies that enabled these applications then became well known. Wireless LANs became popular in hospitals, stock exchanges, buildings and campus settings for point-to-point LAN bridges, nomadic access, ad-hoc networking and even more applications via internetworking. The IEEE 802.11 standard, wireless LAN interoperability forum and the European Hyper-LAN specification had made a progress rapidly with the Unlicensed Personal Communications Services (UPCS) and the proposed Supernal, later renamed to U-NII, with bands also presenting new opportunities (Turow, 2009).
WLAN hardware due to it high cost became useful in places where economical factors could not favor cabled LAN and in places where it was impossible to use cables. Industry specific solutions and proprietary protocols were early development, but these were replaced by standards by the end of the 1990s, mostly the various versions of IEEE 802.11. An ATM-like 5 GHz standardized technology and Hyper LAN/2 which were an alternative have never succeeded in the market. With the discharge of the faster 54 M bit/s 802.11a (5 GHz) and 802.11g (2.4 GHz) standards, makes it impossible for it to ever succeed. A newer standard has been added to 802.11; 802.11n since 2002 which operates on both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands at 300 M bit(s), with most new routers broadcasting a wireless network in dual band. Many routers are mostly available as dual band version since 2.4 GHz band is crowded and other services like Bluetooth have interference with others. The extension of 5 GHz to 5.8 GHz provides a space for more stations (Turow, 2009). A Home RF group was formed in 1997 in promotion of a technology focused on residential use but got dissolved at the end of 2002
Wireless networks are progressively expanding with their uses growing significantly. Part of massive wireless network systems taken by mobile phones. Phones are used for daily communication abroad and locally through wireless network systems using satellites and other devices (Ross, 2008).
Political and Legal Influences (Michael)
Current leaders who support this technology.
As will all countries in this world, their respective leaders whether voted in office or not all have the authority to govern their countries in a manner that seems fit to them and/or their constituents. In our country, our highest leader is the President of the United States of America. Although, there are many leaders in our nation that support Wireless Network Technology, President Barrack Obama has to be the most influential person in our time that supports it.
Having such a high political influence such as President Barrack Obama, it can be assured that many small and large organizations will follow in his footsteps in his relentless support in providing Americans with wireless internet access. His determination is like no other and he continues to push for expanding wireless access to assist with our nation’s economic recovery (Stolberg, 2011).
Aside from the current United State President, other leadesr have come together to introduce a new specification which enables consumers to reach higher levels of wireless performance, coverage, and interoperability. In 2005, twenty seven of the Wi-Fi industries leaders announced that they have agreed to form a coalition in order to accelerate the IEEE 802.11n standard development process (Vanasse, 2010). Moreover, this process would further promote a specific technology specification for next generation wireless local area networking (WLAN) products.
Among the selected 27 leaders from the Wi-Fi industry in the United States, many of the current members are from well-respected multi-million and multi-billion dollar corporations such as Apple, Cisco Systems, Broadcom, D-Link, Gateway, Lenovo, Intel Corporation, Toshiba, Sony, NETGEAR, Linksys, USRobotics, and Marvell (Vanasse, 2010). Further, they created what is called the Enhanced Wireless Consortium to introduce specifications of Wi-Fi technologies in order to expand widespread industry support. This further ensures that specifications created by the collaboration of these leaders will help consumers who adapt to this technology benefit from the assurance of the interoperability of next generation wireless products from a wide range of brands and platforms. In addition, these leaders have come to an agreement to make their intellectual property necessary to the specification available to all parties on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.
A brief description on why they support it.
As President Barrack Obama unveils his wireless expansion plan it makes one wonder why former U.S. President’s didn’t provide enough push for expanding this new technology. On one of his business trips across the nation, he made the case that expanding wireless access to all Americans is an absolutely critical factor to the nation’s economic recovery. The following quote is what the President said in a speech at Northern Michigan University (Stolberg, 2011):
“This isn’t just about a faster Internet or being able to find a friend on Facebook.” “It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age,” the president said. “It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers can monitor weather across the state and markets across the globe. It’s about an entrepreneur on Main Street with a great idea she hopes to sell to the big city. It’s about every young person who no longer has to leave his hometown to seek new opportunity — because opportunity is right there at his or her fingertips.”
This further defines his stance in supporting and encouraging Americans to adapt to this type of technology. Imagine farmers who could monitor weather across the state and markets across the globe; they would have a much better chance in ensuring that their crops are well taken care of for the benefit of those eating their goods and for the farmer’s means of earning a living as well. And what about that young person who in the past originally had to leave his or her own hometown seeking for new opportunity; that has changed because the opportunity is right in front of their face should they choose to embrace wireless networking technology.
The reason why he chose to visit Marquette a city containing approximately 21,000 people is primarily comes from the Northern Michigan University. This university is an innovative leader and has worked for a long time on ways to expand wireless access for students and all their surrounding areas around the campus. In addition, for more than 10 years, Northern Michigan University has out of their generosity given all of their incoming students a brand new laptop. That is an amazing and unique benefit for students that not many universities in the United States participate in (Stolberg, 2011).
Another reason why the President visited the small city of Marquette is because the Northern Michigan University is a front runner in creating alliances with businesses to build what Mr. Obama called “a high-speed, next-generation wireless network.” Moreover, the university also works with local towns in order to expand their network by retrofitting their cell towers with new equipment (Stolberg, 2011). Not many universities are doing this and that is why this particular university stood out and welcomed President Obama to visit them.
It’s a no brainer to realize that he supports Wi-Fi also because it will help in bringing down the U.S. deficit by raising enough revenue from all the support that has been put into bringing Wi-Fi access to nearly every city of America. This is just one factor of his plan to create jobs and boost the United States fragile recovery (Stolberg, 2011).
The Enhanced Wireless Consortium otherwise known as the “EWC” hopes to speed ratification of an 802.11n standard while simultaneously enabling an ecosystem of high performance wireless local area networking products manufactured to a common set of guidelines (Vanasse, 2010). Moreover, the EWC hopes has developed a specification which is primarily designed to enable consumers around the world to enjoy new levels of wireless performance, coverage and interoperability. In addition, the consortium has designed this specification to support speeds in excess of 600 Mbps and is considering combining this with other advanced technologies such as Space Time Block Coding (STBC) and beamforming. When they combine this specification with other advanced technologies such as STBC then this will enable their systems to deliver an even greater range for wireless products across multiple market segments and will also have the capacity to support other advanced multimedia applications as well.
The Enhanced Wireless Consortium specification has a number of technical elements. Below you will find a few of those technical highlights (Vanasse, 2010):
- Enhanced range via multiple antennas and advanced coding – provides for a wider coverage area with consistent wireless speeds.
- Spatial multiplexing modes for simultaneous transmission using 1 to 4 antennas – increases robustness of wireless connections to support very high data rates;
- PHY transmission rates up to 600Mbps – supports applications requiring high data rates (such as transmitting multiple HDTV streams), and reduces battery drain by minimizing the time required to send and receive data streams;
These technical highlights provided above are just some of the reasons why the Enhanced Wireless Consortium has come together to support Wi-Fi technologies. With a collaborative effort, they companies can continue to offer their clients high speeds and long ranges to wireless networks. In return, more users can adopt to using wireless networks more frequently because of the added coverage and faster speeds which enable the companies who support Wi-Fi to profit in the long run.
Economic Questions and Considerations (Michael)
An analysis of how much funding was been spent in the past regarding this technology.
As mentioned previously, President Barrack Obama is a high influential leader in supporting Wi-Fi technologies. He is leading the way of the Wi-Fi movement and during his State of the Union Address to the nation in January 2011, he called for securing high speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans within only a short time span of five years (Stolberg, 2011). There is over 300 million American currently living in the United States of America so imagine the costs associated in making this plan materialize. Moreover, his plan to double the wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband would raise enough money over the next decade to reduce the deficit by $9.6 billion. Now that is a great validation on why anyone would want to expand the wireless spectrum. Furthermore, this plan would be achieved by providing voluntary incentive auctions to broadcasters who are given the right to license the wireless spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. In turn, these broadcasters would then release some of the wireless spectrum to the government who would then sell it to competing wireless companies.
The Obama administration has calculated that the voluntary incentive auctions couples with more efficient government use of the wireless spectrum is in a position to $27.8 billion in revenue over the next 10 years; however, this calculation depends on whether or not the broadcasters are willing to cooperate and it becomes hard to predict how much money can be raised implied Matt Wood who is the director of the Media Access Project which is a nonprofit advocacy group (Stolberg, 2011). Moreover, the president has also asked Congress to make a one-time investment of $5 billion in order to make wireless coverage available to rural areas. Further calculations estimate that $3 billion received from the wireless spectrum proceeds will be spent on research and development into new wireless technologies. Aside from this, the president has also asking Congress for a commitment of $10.7 billion to support what his administration is calling a “nationwide wireless broadband network” for public safety purposes.
The Future of Hotspots.
It is estimated by the Wi-Fi Alliance that approximately 200 million households use Wi-Fi networks (The Future of Hotspots, 2012). In addition, there are roughly about 750,000 Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide. Wi-Fi hotspots are mostly in public sites where businesses offer internet access over their wireless local area network to users for a small fee or in most cases free of charge. Moreover, Wi-Fi is used by over 700 million people worldwide and there are about 800 million new Wi-Fi products manufactured every year. Over the years Cisco Systems has shipped more than 10 million access point to these Wi-Fi clients worldwide.
Until recent times, mobile operators have viewed Wi-Fi technology and the unlicensed spectrum as an extension of their complimentary hotspot business and have not considered it as an extension of their mobile business. With the inception of smartphones including the iPhone or Android and the transition from only a mobile voice plan to now adding a data plan, mobile operators are now considering taking a another look on just how they can capitalize by using Wi-Fi as a part of their mobile business strategy (The Future of Hotspots, 2012).
Cisco Systems is one of the pioneer contributors in allowing millions of people to access Wi-Fi in public hotspots. They have a vision for what they consider to be the next generation hotspot. This new network transitions a hotspots Wi-Fi network from an untrusted network to one that is secure. One of the reasons behind this is that there is a growing data demand for using Wi-Fi in public hotspots and people want to feel secure while using this service. Below you will find the predicted growth of Wi-Fi technologies (The Future of Hotspots, 2012):
- By 2015, global mobile data traffic will reach an annual run rate of 75 exabytes per year. 75 exabytes is equal to 75 times more than all IP traffic generated in 2000, or 19 billion DVDs, or 536 quadrillion SMS text messages.
- The average mobile connection speed will increase 10 times from 2010 (215 kbps) to 2015 (2.2 Mbps), a 60 percent CAGR.
- In 2010, global mobile data traffic nearly tripled (it grew to be 2.6 times larger than the previous year) for the third year in a row, despite a slow economic recovery, increased traffic offload, and the advent of tiered pricing
According to these statistical predictions, we have witnessed an exponential amount of consumer demand for mobile data. Another reason why the demand increase is happening primarily derives from the popularity of smart phones. Moreover, mobile operators and cell phone carriers are looking into finding solutions to offload this high amount of data traffic from their cellular networks into public hotspots which many of them already operate (The Future of Hotspots, 2012). This economical alternative makes Wi-Fi access easy to use just like a cell phone. Therefore, Cisco Systems and their partners are committed and in a position to deliver this service to consumers worldwide.
- Moral and Ethical Implications (Michael)
- The major moral concerns associated with the adoption of this technology.
Although Wi-Fi networks are considered powerful and valuable tools for people to connect wirelessly to the internet, the users who adopt this technology in public Wi-Fi hotspots are also subject for unexpected eavesdropping and identity theft. While using these networks, people need to understand that the information that is being transmitted over the internet can be intercepted when these networks are not secure (FCC Consumer Tip Sheet, 2012). Therefore, consumers need to first verify if they are using a secure (encrypted) or unsecure (unencrypted) network before logging into these wireless networks.
One of the pressing matters for today’s hotspots is that they encourage open associations that don’t attempt to offer any link-layer security. This leaves users vulnerable and open to dangerous cyber-attacks. This is just one of the challenges associated with today’s hotspots; however, if the consumer chooses to use an encrypted network then such threats are unlikely to exist because secure networks use IEEE 802.11i security and EAP authentication (The Future of Hotspots, 2012). Below are some of the potential attacks that a user may encounter when using an unencrypted wireless network at public hotspots:e name as that of an access point deployed by a legitimate hotspot provider. This attack can be used for identity theft.
- Eavesdropping. Unencrypted Wi-Fi communications can be intercepted by an attacker. This subjects personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, photographs, and email to exploitation.
- Tips on how to secure personal and public Wi-Fi networks.
There are many ways to secure or provide an encrypted Wi-Fi network but only a few will be covered here. First, users should turn on their encryption so that information that is passed along will be encoded and cannot be easily deciphered if intercepted. This can be done just by activating the encryption feature on a wireless router. Commonly used encryptions are WPA2 for Wi-Fi networks (FCC Consumer Tip Sheet, 2012). Next, activate the firewall and change the router default password on the router by using creating a password that consists of unique symbols, letters, and numbers.
Consumers are unable to secure public hotspots because they don’t necessarily administer these public Wi-Fi networks. This leaves them at risk when transmitting any of their sensitive information over the internet. In order to mitigate such risks, users should determine first if the website they are visiting is indeed encrypted. To figure this out, users are to look for https ate the beginning of a websites address and small image of a lock at either ends of the browser window. (FCC Consumer Tip Sheet, 2012). Although the sign in page may seem to be encrypted, that doesn’t mean that any of their webpages are also secure; therefore, users should ensure that the https is always shown during their online sessions or else they could be at risk. Further, employers are usually one step ahead by providing their offsite workers with an encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) on the computing device provided to them. This allows a safe and secure mechanism for workers out in the field to securely communicate and connect to their companies’ network.
Companies leading the way with their corporate responsibility.
AT&T has recently marked its first year anniversary of the “Wi-Fi in the Parks” initiative that offers free network connections for users visiting many of New York’s famous parks. Moreover, AT&T has more than 30,000 Wi-Fi Hot Spots and is showing no signs of slowing down their expansion. Further, this is just one company that is leading the way with corporate social responsibility. AT&T has sincere philanthropist motives of providing free network connections in New York’s famous park locations such as Thomas Jefferson Park and Astoria Park. This allows thousands of visitors to log into the internet for free while spending the day at New York City’s beautiful parks (Free AT&T Wi-Fi Lights up Rucker Park, 2012).
From the time AT&T started this initiative in June 2011 at Manhattan’s Thomas Jefferson Park, park visitors have made over 2.7 million connections averaging approximately 10,000 connections per day (Free AT&T Wi-Fi Lights up Rucker Park, 2012). During the next several months AT&T expects to complete installation at a total of 26 park locations. Everyone visiting these parks while using any smartphone or tablet regardless of their mobile carriers will be able to connect to the AT&T Wi-Fi Network. Parks that are currently leading the trend of high connections per day include Battery Park with an average of 3,500 connections per day and Central Park Tavern on the Green with approximately 3,800 connections per day. Below is what the leaders at AT&T and New York City have to say regarding this corporate responsibility initiative:
“It’s great that Wi-Fi in the Parks continues to grow and see just how much New Yorkers and other park visitors are using this free service," said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “AT&T is committed to providing the most accessible and reliable network, whether at home, at work or, in cooperation with Mayor Bloomberg, throughout New York City's beautiful parks.”
“This popular initiative is one more reason New York City is well on its way to becoming the nation’s leading digital city,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I want to thank AT&T for their generous donation and their commitment over the past year to further improving the experience of visitors to parks across the five boroughs.”
Wireless Networking Technology
The interactions between individuals have changed considerably since inception of wireless communication and networking technology. The way in which we communicate has changed considerably; we no longer have face-to-face conversations or write letters, to others. Today we must text or email, to communicate with others. Wireless technology has become an essential part of lives and has impacted the world, greatly. Wireless network technology was created to connect electronic devices to the internet without a physical connection because the future of computers and Internet connectivity worldwide requires it.
Whether, traveling, talking on our cell phones, texting or emailing a friend, wireless has become integral part of our lives. These changes have been both an advantage and disadvantage; however, has obviously influenced in the way we interact with each other. Wireless technology is constantly altering the way we live our lives and impossible to imagine life without it. As a result, wireless technology, has made it easier for families and individuals to stay in connection with each other. For example, we now are able to utilize videophone to communicate with our love ones or take part in a business meeting, using platforms like Skype.
We are also able to communicate with others via our smartphones, email, Facebook and Twitter thanks to the innovations of wireless technology. The cell phone is no longer just a phone for talking and texting. We are now able to watch movies, read e-books and download music and movies via our Smartphone. Wireless networking technology is evolving so quickly worldwide, we able to shop for our groceries, pay our bills and finding a date, online just by logging onto our computers. In some cases, this technology can create isolation for some individuals, not using the traditional route of socializing and communicating with others. In addition to, the cellular phone and laptop, Wi-Fi connectivity, we have another great innovation, email. E-mail has significantly changed the way in which we receive our mail, news, weather, bill statements, doctor’s appointments and sports. We no longer need to wait for the 5:00 o’clock news to know what’s occurring in the world, we just need to log into our laptops, smartphones or tablets.
We have built our relationships with the use of the internet, texting, cellular phones and laptops, verse building relationships with others through a handshake or just saying “hello”. Yes, the use and innovations of wireless technology are wonderful, however at same time it can be very lonely. Wireless technology is growing so rapidly in the telecommunications world, there are at least 3 billion people connected to the internet or with a cellular phone or smartphones provider. With the outpouring of the cellular phone, the demand for mobile access has gone through the ceiling. Most of us in America have heard of 3G, which stands for third generation, wireless industry term for high-speed mobile data delivery over cellular networks.
According to the article, “The development of broadband mobile telephony could have an even greater impact on the global economy than the First Internet Revolution (1995-2000). The next generation of mobile telephony, the so-called "Third Generation" (or "3G"), will not only offer mobility and efficiency benefits to a technologically sophisticated country like the United States, but it also will give billions of people around the world their first direct access to the Internet” (Banks, 2001, p. 1)
The use of cellular phone has become an epidemic, even in developing countries. For example, the use of a cellular phone has influenced and helped with their health care. Doctors are now able to send their patients a reminder of their medical appointment, or instructions on how to take their prescribed medications or a needed check-up.
Wireless technology has affected how companies today conduct their business. It has made it considerably easier to keep in contact with their customers, vendors, and partners around the world and locally. With the advancements in wireless technology, employees no longer need to work at an office. They now have the convenience of staying home and working from their laptop or working while traveling on an airplane. I can recall when I worked for Siemens (a global telecommunication company) and I did not want to come into the office that day. Therefore, my work on that day was completed from home. I had the accessibility to work from home, with the use of my laptop to access the intranet to obtain my information. For meetings, I was able to join via a videophone or webcam.
Technology is a wonderful thing that can make your life much easier and sometimes faster. Is there an off switch, when we are not accessing to the internet or text messaging? Because we have 24-hour accessibility to the internet or cell phone, the impulse to check your messages is always there. What if, you where on a deserted island and could not text nor send an email, what would you do?
We now have several different mobile service providers trying to sell to us, their latest and greatest cellular phone. Before the cellular phone epidemic, we had few functions and designs. Now, we have variety of designs and functions, such as the iPhone 3G, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Nokia Lumia 800. Not only have the designs and functions changed, but also the cost just to own one, can cost between $199-499, depending on your service provider, applications, amount of memory and color.
While, technology has made our lives much easier in some aspects, we still are working harder and longer hours. “In the United States alone, the number of people who will access the Internet through a mobile device could grow from 7.4 million in 1999 to 61.5 million in 2003, an increase of 700%. Globally, the number of mobile subscribers could top one billion individuals during that same period, and the value of commerce conducted via mobile devices could exceed $13 billion annually” (Banks, 2001, pp. 1,b).
Although, we are technologically advanced, even now we encounter thieves, terrorism, and vulnerability when accessing the internet. With devices such as, the Smartphone, tablets, and laptops, used to connect to various websites to access our accounts for your dental bill, mortgage, and credit card payments, we are exposed to the internet and identity thieves.
One of my favorite hobbies, is downloading free music and movies, ten years ago, this was impossibility. With the advancements in wireless technology, it makes the task of downloading music or movies, effortlessly.
When using a Wi-Fi router which provides access to various websites from your home, business, or neighbor coffee shop, we should be very cautious when submitting financial or personal information wirelessly: because most websites are not secure or free from hackers, that can obtain our personal information. “Recent technological advances, wireless-security experts say, mean a well-designed corporate wireless networks can be as safe as a wired local-area networks, or LAN. A Wi-Fi Networking is "as safe as the engineering company that designs it," according to Gerry Cockram, a wireless-security expert at Sprint Corp., which sells Wi-Fi networks installation and maintenance services” (Nasaw, 2004,April 26).
When Wi-Fi technology began, it was originally accessed in homes, hotels, and parks or wherever a web-connected hotspot was located. Before the innovation of Wi-Fi technology, we could only connect to a website with wires and cables. What is a Wi-Fi hotspot? The process we use to access or connect to the internet without the use of wires and cables, for both private and public locations. However, some providers did not accept Wi-Fi technology as part of the telecommunications industry, due to fear.
Until a little company called, T-Mobile came along and decided Wi-Fi technology would make an excellent balance to their company. T-Mobile USA is a national provider of wireless voice, messaging, and data services capable of reaching over 293 million Americans where they live, work, and play “Many mobile phone operators initially held back from embracing Wi-Fi because of fears it might cannibalize their lucrative phone business and jeopardize their huge investments in third-generation licenses. It now operates more than 8,500 public hotspots across Europe and the US. T-Mobile” (Taylor, Sept. 21, 2004).
Conversely, with telecommunication technology being a ubiquitous part of our lives, has it caused a division between the classes, rural vs. urban? Unfortunately, the great digital divide still exists in our society. Because some folks cannot afford the cost of a computer, and others may not have accessibility, due to the minimal level of telephone service through their provider. “Some are designed to assist local business to lower its costs, while others to ensure equal access for underutilized groups (like rural small business, or the aged); some exist to serve as the natural product of innovative collaboration; and, still others, to modernize local civic and economic processes” (McMahan, 1996).
Wireless technology has made the U.S more environmentally conscientious; we are now cutting down fewer trees, annually. Because, most businesses now have their own websites, and their customers are able to download their monthly billing statements and pay their bill online, instead of receiving a paper version in a week or two. We also have the ability to download our books, newspapers or magazines for school or leisure from a variety of bookstores onto our e- readers. According to this author,” Economic developers, the ombudsman of local communities, must learn to use this new tool of telecommunications and information technology. They must do so for the sake of their communities and the clients they serve, i.e., existing business, potential relocating businesses, local government, and ordinary citizens” (McMahan, 1996, pp. 1, intro.)
Nowadays, the wireless network technologies have already become an inevitable part of the everyday life of each American. One of the factors, which predetermines its popularity is its long history as it traces back to 1896, when the first wireless telegraph was invented. Contemporary wireless technologies include those computer networks, which perform their work without any cables or other physical means. Wireless LANs are divided into two groups: ad hoc wireless LANs (those which use several jointed wireless nodes) and infrastructure wireless LANs (those which use access points for the wireless nodes to work the network resource). The rates of data depend on the power control, the data transfer protocol and the data compression algorithm. Furthermore, the direction of the inference of the technologies can be both inward and outward; the inward one includes S band for the purpose of receiving or transmitting any signals. Outward interferences act only in case of the interaction with another system.
WiMAX, as well as WiFi, are the principal types of wireless technologies. In an abundance of countries, WiMAX is often used for 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Both WiMAX and WiFi are considered to include triple-play, backhaul, hotspots and broadband connections, but WiFi does not allow the usage at considerable distances. By means of WiFi, it is possible to send the data to the modem, link it to a wireless router, convert it to radio waves and to interprete them with the help of the computer.
On the other hand, in spite of the conveniences provided by wireless technologies, they can also cause some threat. First of all, it deals with security of American citizens. Identity theft as well as eavesdropping and evil twin attack are especially particuliar for unencrypted networks. For the purpose of preventing such attacks, the users need to determine the website as an encrypted one; in addition, it is necessary to have the firewall activated and to change any default passwords by the one which consists of unique numbers, letters or symbols.
In spite of the fact that wireless technologies are not always reliable, its importance and convenience is obvious. This is the reason why the President of the USA Barack Obama is aimed at improving these systems by investigating large sums of money in making them more available and practical for the American nation. The forecast concerning the wireless network technologies is positive so that the wireless technologies are predicted to be more than significant in the nearest future.