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This technology is on the increase with companies providing access points throughout the world for mobile users to link to the Internet. More and more laptops and PDAs (personal digital assistants) are being installed with wireless technology allowing the user to connect to the Internet wherever they can find a wireless access point. Some points will be free but most providers require online payment before giving you the access codes to the service. Most sell time in a similar way to pay-as-you-go mobile phones.

This technology is also being used as part of a local area network (LAN); in certain situations, it is cheaper to install wireless that run cable. A wireless router can have a range of 90m indoors for a bandwidth of 1Mbps to 30m for 11Mbps (802.11b) or 54Mbps (802.11g). These speeds are lower than normal cabling which can be up to 100Mbps and large networks will have a 1Gbps backbone using fibre optics to ensure that the user has the highest bandwidth possible at their computer. Remember every time you add a hub, all the computers on that hub share the bandwidth of the connecting cable.

Next: Activity 4.7