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  Internet Anywhere, Compex Wireless Networking 
  Oct 29, 2002, 07:30am EST 

Setting the Standards

By: Dan Mepham

As this is our first formal discussion of wireless technology, we thought wed take a moment to offer a brief overview, and discuss some of the basics.

The greatest hurdle to overcome with respect to wireless technology, and the one of most importance in terms of the success of the technology, is the issue of standardization. For any technology to become widely adopted, there must be a measure of standardization between involved parties. If there isnt a basic agreement and set of guidelines, wed end up with a mish-mash of incompatible products that would be about as useful in the long run as the old BetaMax VCR collecting dust in your basement.

In recent years there have been several proposed standards, however the most widely accepted has been the IEEEs 802.11b standard. 802.11b defines a transmission of 11Mbps over the 2.4GHz signaling band. It also offers 64-bit and 128-bit encryption to ensure network security, which becomes a major concern when data is transmitted openly through the air.

Most importantly, though, any device conforming to the IEEE802.11b protocol is guaranteed to be compatible with other devices conforming to the protocol, irrespective of manufacturer. That is to say that if you purchased wireless equipment from one manufacturer, and wanted to add more later, the additional equipment would be fully compatible (in terms of signaling specifications) with your existing hardware.

Naturally the Compex WL11A wireless network cards were exploring here today fully conform to the popular 802.11b specification, and thus are guaranteed to be compatible with other 802.11b hardware.

For more information on 802.11b and other IEEE standards, visit the IEEE's website at

1. Introduction
2. Setting the Standards
3. Exploring the Hardware
4. In Use - Lab Notes
5. Configuration Utility
6. Summary

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