I recently came across a very interesting and easily understood explanation on how networks and wireless equipment work and thought there may be some of you who would like to know a little more about these things. A well known manufacturer; Linksys has a wonderful series of tutorials on their web site in what they have labeled their Learning Center. You will need to have "Flash Player" on your computer to view, and there is a link to enable you to download Flash Player (you probably have it on your computer already if you do a little internet browsing).

I have reproduced two of their pages here to let you have a look and the link to their site is here. It is repeated again at the bottom of this document.

Network Speed

Network speeds pertain to how fast networked computers can communicate and share information with each other. It is how fast a file can be transferred from one networked computer to another. With a wired network, the local area connection can be up to 100Mbps because data is transferred directly through a wired (CAT5) cable.

Wireless standard speeds, such as 11 Mbps or 54 Mbps, do not pertain to your Internet connection or download speeds. Those speeds are determined only by the Internet service provider (ISP). Cable modem and DSL customers will receive bandwidth speeds that are much lower, depending on upstream or downstream download speeds. Check with your local ISP for more information.

With a wireless network, data is sent via radio waves, so speeds can be affected by interference or obstructions like walls and large objects. The wireless router will auto-sense signal strength and, if it gets weak, will automatically lower transmission rate down from 11Mbps to 5.5Mbps to 2Mbps, and even down to 1Mbps. The following are tips to get the best performance from your wireless network:

* Place the wireless router in a central location of your house, such as a family room or office.
* Arrange the desktop or laptop's wireless card antenna so that it points toward the wireless router.
* Avoid placing the antenna close to an outside wall (unless outside is where you want to be). Also, if you want to connect while you're outside, place the wireless router near a window.
* Purchase a wireless reach product.

Networking products are typically rated by megabits per second (Mbps), which is different from megabytes per second (MBps). The conversion is: 1 MBps = 8 Mbps. Music and pictures are usually around 3 - 5 MB per file, depending on the quality.

Article available on Linksys.com a CISCO trademark.

Wireless vs Wired

There are two kinds of network technologies:

* Wireless - communicates through radio waves
* Wired - communicates through data cables (most commonly Ethernet-based)

Why choose a wireless network?
Wireless vs Wired - Wireless networks don't use cables for connections, but rather they use radio waves, like cordless phones. The advantage of a wireless network is the mobility and freedom from the restriction of wires or a fixed connection. The benefits of having a wireless network include:

* Mobility and freedom - work anywhere
* No restriction of wires or a fixed connection
* Quick, effortless installation
* No cables to buy
* Save cabling time and hassle
* Easy to expand

Also known as Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity, wireless networks allow you to use your network devices anywhere in an office or home, even out on the patio. You can check your e-mail or surf the Internet on your laptop anywhere in your house. There is no need to drill holes in the wall and install Ethernet cables. You can network anywhere - without wires. Outside your home, wireless networking is available in public "hotspots," such as coffee shops, businesses, hotel rooms, and airports. This is perfect for those of you who do a lot of traveling.

Learn more about hotspots.

Linksys wireless routers are also equipped for wired connections - giving you the best of both worlds - connect wirelessly when you'd like to roam around your house, and connect wired when the utmost speed is important to you. For convenience and ease of use, wireless networking is the answer.

Learn more about how wireless works.
Why choose a wired network?
Wireless vs Wired - Wired networks have been around for decades. Wired networking technology found today is known as Ethernet. The data cables, known as Ethernet network cables or wired (CAT5) cables, connect computers and other devices that make up the networks. Wired networks are best when you need to move large amounts of data at high speeds, such as professional-quality multimedia. The benefits of having a wired network include:

* Relatively low cost
* Offers the highest performance possible
* Fast speed - standard Ethernet cable up to 100Mbps.
* Faster speed - Gigabit Ethernet cable up to 1000Mbps.

The following question will take you to Linksys site: I want to go wireless. Which standard should I choose?

Article available on Linksys.com a CISCO trademark

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