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802.11 Standards

The IEEE developed the 802.11 standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs). There are four specifications including 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. Each 802.11 standard operates in a different GHz range and/or offers a different speed. 802.11 applies to wireless LANs and provides 1 or 2 Mbps transmission in the 2.4 GHz band using either frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).

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Broadband Wireless Internet

Wireless broadband access usage continues to grow and emerging technologies and lower costs will make broadband wireless internet networks ubiquitous in the near future.  FierceWiFi focuses on technologies such as WiFi, WLANs, Bluetooth, 3G wireless, and voice over frequency division multiplexing (VOFDM) which will make broadband wireless internet cheaper, more scalable, more reliable, and more secure.  Each week FierceWiFi delivers the most important broadband wireless news.  Readers can expect coverage of broadband wireless internet from a number of perspectives.

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Emerging WiFi and WLAN Technologies

WiFi and WLAN technologies are evolving to allow for faster transmission speeds and greater bandwidth. FierceWiFi takes a look at trends in the market in order to understand what services are on the horizon. Here’s a quick overview of some exciting new or potential services FierceWiFi covers:

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Radio Frequency Identification - RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless data collection technology that relies on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. RFID tags are like bar codes; they are used to identify items. An RFID tag can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person. Unlike bar codes, which must be brought close to the scanner for reading, RFID tags are read when they are within the proximity of a transmitted radio signal. They contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency signals from an RFID transceiver. Companies use RFID technology for such things as payment systems, access control and supply tracking.

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Wireless local area networks (WLANs) are small-scale wireless networks with a typical radius of several hundred feet. The most prevalent form of WLAN technology is called WiFi, which encompasses a host of standards including 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. Wireless Internet via WiFi offers blazing fast data speeds (11Mbps at the low end with 802.11b and 54 Mbps at the high end for 802.11a and 802.11g). While WiFi technology does not offer the degree of ubiquity as wide area networks, the fast data speeds and relatively cheap costs of setting up a WiFi-based WLAN have spurred it ahead in the market.

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Wireless Hotspots, Public Wireless Access

Although there is still a plethora of free wireless hotspots, public wireless Internet access is increasingly turning into a paid-access business. Wayport, a leading wireless internet access provider that charges for WiFi access in hotels and airports, recently announced passing the 2.5 million customer mark. The company plans to launch WiFi hotspots in select McDonald's restaurants across the country.

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