Why Wireless DA Is A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Wireless Directory Assistance (DA) is a virtual directory that offers a fast way to get directory-dependent applications online.
It is a multi-billion dollar industry that has a window of opportunity to develop and offer a higher value and more flexible services to subscribers.


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ith billion of calls to DA, approximately a third of which generated by wireless users, it has become the cash cow of telecommunications carriers.

Virtual Directories

Virtual directories are not unlike meta-directories.
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User data can be accessed from different repositories.

Meta-directories copy data into a new repository that needs to be created, maintained and synchronized. Updating data can be very difficult especially when there is frequent change in source directories’ data.

Business units may find the idea of creating a second repository for customer data objectionable since it will be outside of their control. Virtual directories can access the attributes requested from each directory or database on the fly.
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A cache is used by the software to speed performance but data doesn’t usually get to be scored locally. Virtual directory deployments cost substantially less than other alternative strategies.

The virtual directory technology should be considered for any plans to customize an application.

It can also help applications that are not sophisticated enough to deal with more complex directory mechanisms such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) referrals. A virtual directory can follow the reference to locate the data and return it to the application.
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Its potential weakness lies in the fact that it can only be as good as the directories behind it.

A meta-directory having its own data source may prove to be a better choice if a directory tends to go down frequently or offers poor response. Virtual directories however, have load-balancing and fail-over features that can be configured to redirect a request to an alternative data source.

In instances where a connection drops in the middle of a request, the outside directory retries another repository and returns the rest of the data.
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An additional repository is not created but another layer of complexity is. This is because virtual directories require applications to access information indirectly through the virtual directory server instead of going to the directory that actually holds the data.

There are some apprehensions with the added layer of infrastructure because if anything happens to the web single sign-on, the critical applications are down.
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Virtual directories are recommended for use for applications that can access only a single directory when the user data or attributes reside in many places.

It is also offered as an alternative to meta-directories when attributes in source directories change frequently. It can be used as a directory migration tool as it lets administrators migrate to a new directory architecture without updating all the applications that depend on it.

These applications are presented with a view of the old directory and its schema structure. Very large repositories can be broken apart to improve writer performance and reduce downtime.

Wireless Directory Assistance

The industry focuses its attention on Enhanced Directory Assistance which hopes to increase value for wireless users.
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This is because wireless directory assistance comes in second to subscription with regards to the largest source of revenue as analysts project the total amount of access fees to continue increasing.

Wireless customers are looking for more informative and user-friendly services to enable them to be more wirelessly productive and efficient.
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A research conducted by the Wireless Commerce Monitor Study revealed that one in three subscribers use Directory Assistance on their wireless phones. The remaining number either use online directory assistance, mapping services and the newer services including Enhanced Directory Assistance, wireless short messaging, wireless e-mail notification and wireless mapping and direction services.

Barriers that have been identified with regards to qualitative work are inaccurate, incomplete or irrelevant information and low perceptions of value for money.
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Wireless and Internet providers compete for most of the said Directory Assistance customers.

The research further revealed that more than half of wireless users are using two or more Directory Assistance solutions. This would seem to support the thinking that there is not one form of assistance service that would fit everybody in the same way that one person will not always use a single form.
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People tend to prefer and choose from voice and electronic solutions depending on the situation.

It would be advantageous to the wireless industry to continue developing wireless as a delivery mechanism for Internet applications.

There is a need for Directory Assistance providers to prove to prospective business partners that Directory Assistance services actually stimulate revenue.
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This is especially true with small business advertisers who want to see real value. Majority of those using Directory Assistance on their wireless phone have used it for the purpose of contacting or receiving information with regards to business.

The percentage is very close to the levels of inquiry seen with online methods. Another important aspect of the study revealed that the conversion potential or the proportion of actual purchase as a direct result of the inquiry is considerably strong.
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The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association together with the majority of the largest wireless carrier proposes to include wireless phone numbers in a data base accessible by dialing 411.

Those who oppose this move say that it compromises user privacy and thus is totally unnecessary. However, backers of the directory insist that privacy remains paramount in their agenda. The group will use one unnamed aggregator to store the number in a data base and such numbers will not be published and posted on the Internet or sold.
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These numbers will only be available to 411 operators.

Users are required to make a formal request to have their number included in the directory. All numbers with no request shall remain private. There will be no additional cost incurred, whatever the option is taken.
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Some have seen the benefit of having a wireless directory include all the business numbers as it can provide more company employee accessibility to clients.

Protection from unsolicited wireless calls on one hand and the consumer’s right to directory assistance on the other constitute the basic differences in opinion of each side’s proponent.
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Wireless directory assistance will be different from tradition landline directory assistance or printed white pages type of directory. Mobile directory assistance benefits consumers in terms of location capabilities.

Carriers likewise stand to benefit from this type of directory service since operators can charge for these services. The combined features of Internet type directories and location capability is a sure fire revenue generator for carriers.

This just goes to show that any service that meets the needs of consumers will turn out to be quite a very lucrative business.


WiFi Comes To Digital Cameras – Wow! What’s Next?

First we had to get over the whole film thing after a nation of baby boomers had been raised on Kodak, Polaroid, and 35mm film cameras of various shapes and sizes.
We were all use to the idea of sending in our film for developing and waiting for our pictures to come back.


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hen along came digital cameras and the world was taken by storm with this cool new technology.
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Suddenly you could take a picture and see the results immediately.

At first these cameras were slow and not such great quality but still kind of cool. Then things heated up and now we have fantastic digital cameras of all sizes and shapes that can take wonderful images which can be shared instantly with your family, or the rest of the world for that matter.
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Now comes the latest in technology integration.

WiFi and digital cameras. No need to even plug your camera memory card into a computer, or a printer at all. Now you can buy a digital camera that transmits the images via wireless technology.

Yes, that is right, a wireless connection for your image uploads.
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Now, you may be among those in the population that have not even gotten their hands around the whole digital image sharing thing yet.

But this promising new technology may lead us to a world of fewer cables to plug in, quicker transfer of our images, and in the case of events in the world, the ability to share images of news almost instantly.
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As we saw in the recent bombings in London, folks with cell phone cameras recorded the devastation they saw in the underground and shared it with the world in almost real time fashion.

These new cameras may be able to take that sort of thing to an all new level. Imagine cities that implement widespread WiFi access and photographers with WiFi cameras capturing images of news and other special events.

They could transmit those images right away and let the world see them.

Here is how it works:

Nikon has released two models of digital cameras that are WiFi enabled.
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The idea is to be able to transmit your pictures straight from the camera to your computer or printer through a wireless adaptor. You bring up the images to transfer, hit “go”, and they get sent through the air to your printer.

The Coolpix P1 and P2 will be in the $400-$550 range in pricing and the adaptor is extra.
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They are competing with Kodak which released its own version of the WiFi camera in their Easy Share line of cameras this year.

Kodak has already gone to making it easy to share photos by transmitting them at so called “wireless hot spots”, usually cafes or stores where wireless access is sold or given away to customers.

These efforts by the leading camera makers seem aimed at adding value to their already impressive digital technology.
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Digital cameras continue to be hot sellers despite what some in the industry thought would be a slowing of sales this year.

Many had predicted that cell phone cameras would slow digital camera sales, but this is not happening.

If you are a leading edge gadget buyer and have a wireless mindset then you may want to be first on the block to get one of these Wi-Fi digital cameras.


Wireless – The Future Of Connecting To The Internet

What is WiFi?


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ifi or Wireless Fidelity, allows you to connect to the internet from virtually anywhere at speeds of up to 54Mbps.
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WiFi enabled computers and handsets use radio technologies based on the IEEE 802.11 standard to send and receive data anywhere within the range of a base station.

Wireless is a technology that’s inexpensive, easy to use, and practical and yet… it’s a technology that’s still very young. Here’s a quick look at what the future could hold for wireless.

The Radio and the Phone

Wireless networks will always win over wired ones, if for no other reason, simply because it is much cheaper for signals to travel through the air than it is to install and maintain wires.
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For example… consider that telephones were originally used for sending and receiving news reports.

When radio was invented, this stopped almost overnight – why bother going to all that expense when it’s free ‘over the air’?

The same principle applies to computer networking.
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Imagine having a choice between a wired Internet connection and a wireless one.

The only reason to choose a wired connection would be cost because currently it’s cheaper? However, that will change soon.

Wireless is also easier. Once the cost gap closes, if given the opportunity, there’s no logical reason why anyone wouldn’t switch to a wireless connection.

WiMAX

WiMAX is the next generation of wireless. It will use a standard called 802.16. The current standard is 802.11.

It’s still a work in progress, but the possibilities are exciting.
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WiMAX stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access and is designed to complement existing wireless equipment… rather than replace it.

The big advantage of WiMAX is that it greatly increases range. Rather than being measured in square meters, which is how the current standard is measured in, WiMAX ranges will be measured in square kilometers.

Some estimates say the best WiMAX stations will be able to transmit up to 50 kilometers or about 30 miles!
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Clearly, this opens an incredibly wide range of possibilities.

Wireless access would move from LANs (Local Area Networks) to MANs: (Metropolitan Area Networks) covering a whole town or city with wireless access. The question would no longer be if you could connect via wireless, but what WiMAX network you wanted to connect too.

Other benefits of WiMAX include speed of up to 70Mbps (almost 10 MB per second) and better security.
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Imagine a future where ordering Internet access is as simple as connecting your existing wireless equipment to the network, opening your web browser and buying a low cost subscription.

That’s it – done. No more access points, no more routers, no more configuration… just wireless Internet, anywhere and everywhere at broadband speeds.

WiMAX is in the process of taking the world by storm.

For the latest news on WiMAX visit the WiMAX Forum (a non-profit industry group set up to promote WiMAX) at http://www.wimaxforum.org. WiMAX has been in development since 2001 and the first WiMAX equipment is expected to hit the market in late 2005 or early 2006.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a new standard for short range radio connectivity.
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It is the new and promising field in the wireless communications standardization activities, which will profoundly affect the operation and applications of electronic gadgets of the future.

The most obvious purpose of Bluetooth technology is to replace USB and it’s designed to eventually replace almost every wire there is… except power cables.

What does that mean?

It means that someday your TV could be connecting to your DVD player via Bluetooth or your speakers could connect to your radio with it, and so on and so on.
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As you get older, expect to see fewer and fewer wires.

I know… people said the same thing about paper but it turns out that people like paper and don’t want a ‘paperless society’. On the other hand, how many people do you know who have cable or wire fetish? The biggest remaining article is reliable wireless power.

When they figure out how to provide reliable wireless power (i.e. better batteries)… look out because the flood gates will really open up.

A Simpler Life

Convenience… the first benefit of wireless technology that comes to my mind.
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Wires have so many flaws, especially when they go long distances and the overall wireless project is to remove the vast majority of them from our lives.

Of course, another nice benefit will be cost because once wireless if up and going full-bore it will cost less than wire based transmission.

My prediction… within 10 years, wireless access will be making everyone’s life much easier and it will be the norm. The future is wireless!


Wireless Barcode Scanners: The Next Generation Gizmo

Wireless barcode scanners are a clear example of the best just having got better.


Much like Alexander Graham Bell’s wired telephone that got eclipsed by the cordless phone which became a craze across millions of households, wireless bar code scanners have become a mega-hit with an ever-increasing number of business entrepreneurs making the upward shift to realize greater productivity day in day out.
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To put it simply, wireless barcode scanners offer you all the benefits of your regular barcode scanner or barcode reader and then, some more!

But hold on just yet, while wireless barcode readers and scanners are blitzing the market, you still need to which type of the device you need to best suit your business needs before going ahead and making a purchase.

You need to very clearly articulate the reason for wanting to move into the wireless barcode scanner space and the plausible reasons for wanting to go wireless could be any of the following:-

  • You need the freedom of mobility to be able to capture information away from your computer because of the spatial location of your tagged products
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  • You might want to collect the data away from your computer but be able to sync it or upload it once you get back to the origin i.e. the computer
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  • You might not only want to collect data away from the computer but also be able to log on via wireless networks to a database and post the captured information
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    Thus simply put, do you need a simple barcode scanner with a really long cord or do you have a genuine need for a wireless barcode scanner?
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    And once you do a cost comparison on the various types of the barcode readers and barcode scanners, both wired as well as cordless, you will know exactly how much you are paying for what, and how much you are likely to benefit from the application of the device.

    Accurate information capture, ease of the information capture, speed at which different materials can be barcode registered and tagged, exquisite levels of data control are just some of the innumerous benefits that this technology promises for the user!

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    Finally a key thing that you need to keep in mind is that implementation of a new technology by itself does not guarantee success.

    You need to handle the change from one level to the next very well and proactively too, as in the case of wireless barcode scanners too. People management as part of change management is crucial to the success of your business and this should be given core focus.

    New technology is useless unless its espoused as a unifying cause by all in the work force.

    Once you have mastered the change in people, you have truly put yourself on the road to progress. Experience the wonders of wireless barcode scanners and be awestruck!


    Wireless Ethernet: A Viable Business Opportunity for the IT Consultant

    During 2002, many vendors were rushing to market 802.11a (up to 54Mpbs) wireless Ethernet products that were supposed to be the next wave in wireless networking.
    However, at the same time, an “in-progress” standard called 802.11g may supplant both the original 802.11b and newer 802.11a standards.


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    o frankly, the “safest” bet for now may be to seek out wireless Ethernet hardware that supports all three standards: 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g.

    Wireless Ethernet as a Business Opportunity

    As an IT consultant you should be aware that wireless is a great business opportunity for savvy computer consultants.
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    However, since there is a fairly large installed base of 802.11b (11Mbps) products already, and most 802.11a products are not backward compatible with 802.11b products (although many vendors are rushing to market with hybrid 802.11b/802.11a products), this 802.11a standard faces an uphill battle in the marketplace.

    The Bottom Line about Wireless Ethernet

    While wireless Ethernet will likely overtake wired Ethernet (Category 5) as the dominant small business networking standard at some point in the future, the “when” and “how” is still very unclear.

    In the meantime though, many small business computer consultants are still finding wireless Ethernet to be a tremendous marketplace opportunity.


    Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Biz Tech Talk. All Worldwide Rights Reserved.


    Wireless Internet Terminology – Confusion Or Clarity?

    Wireless Internet Terminology, like many things in life, especially those that have anything to do with computers is filled with terminology.
    But like most things, once you learn a few of the basic terms, understanding will come quickly.


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    o don’t be confused get informed and to help clarify, I’ve put together a basic wireless “internet-to-english” guide to help you along.

    IEEE – The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

    The IEEE is in charge of the wireless networking standard, as well as many other computer-related standards – including the Ethernet standard.

    They ensure that computer equipment made by different manufacturers can work together.

    PCMCIA – Personal Computer Memory Card International Association

    Simply another standard for how to plug credit card size devices into a laptop computer to boost it’s capabilities.

    It’s been suggested by some that it should stand for “People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms”. PCMCIA is a great way of adding wireless networking to your laptop as easily as inserting a disk.

    PCI – Peripheral Component Interconnect

    Used to install devices like graphics cards and network devices inside your computer.

    You would be using a PCI, if you wanted to install a wireless card inside your computer.

    802.11

    Set by the IEEE, it’s the current wireless networking standard.

    It helps ensure that wireless devices can communicate with one another or in other words – they are interoperable.

    Interoperable

    Simply means that two different pieces of equipment have the ability to speak to each other or another way to put it – they are compatible.

    They can use them together because they were designed using the same standards. Because of the IEEE and the principle of interoperability, all wireless equipment you purchase should be compatible.

    Driver

    Not a piece of golf equipment but computer software that informs a computer how to talk to devices that plug into it.

    Most wireless networking drivers come on a CD-ROM. You then download the drivers from the CD onto your computer.

    Ethernet

    Currently, the most common way of connecting to a LAN or Local Area Network.

    Most wires connected to your computer today are ethernet and if you have a cable internet connection an ethernet wire is in all likely-hood, what is being used to connect to your modem.

    USB – Universal Serial Bus

    A port used for connecting all sorts of devices to a computer, including keyboards, a mouse, printers, external hard-drives and basically anything else you can think of.

    If you don’t have a laptop or want to open up your computer you can get a USB wireless device.

    WEP – Wired Equivalent Privacy

    No longer used because in 2001 it was found to have security issues.

    As a result, it is now the old standard for encrypting wireless networks.

    WPA – WiFi Protected Access

    The new standard for encrypting wireless networks. An upgrade of WEP to fix security issues.

    To avoid becoming vulnerable, a WPA encrypted network changes encryption methods often. In addition, if an attack is detected, it has the ability to shut itself down for thirty seconds.

    PAN – Personal Area Network

    A network of devices connected together in one small area.

    A simple example of a PAN would be your computer, USB keyboard and mouse. Using a technology called Bluetooth, a PAN can be wireless.

    LAN – Local Area Network

    Briefly mentioned above, LAN is a computer network that… generally speaking is confined to one building, such as a home or office.

    A wireless LAN is also known as a WLAN.

    MAN – Metropolitan Area Network

    A network that covers a larger area, like a city or town.

    They are expensive but a wireless MAN has the capacity to spread Internet access across a wide area. Many college universities set-up a MAN to connect the entire campus.

    WAN – Wide Area Network

    A network that covers or connects to more than one physical site.

    A simple example would be a business that has locations in different cities, states or countries and they need them each location connected on the same network. The Internet itself is a WAN… the biggest WAN in the world.

    Mbps – Megabits Per Second

    Not to be confused with MBps, megabytes per second. Mbps is measurement of connection speed.

    There are eight megabits in a megabyte.

    GHz – Gigahertz

    One gigahertz is one billion cycles per second… it’s a measurement of frequency.

    If the term sounds familiar it’s probably because it’s also used to measure the processing speed of the CPU on your computer, which is also measured in gigahertz.

    Linux

    A popular and growing alternative operating system to Windows.

    Linux is a less bulky, more efficient operating system in many ways than Windows and not to mention – it’s free. Many servers run Linux for this reason. Computers running Linux can run many programs and connect to the Internet without needing Windows. Many wireless devices run Linux or are compatible with it.


    Wireless Networking Cards – A Closer Look

    Ok, so you’ve read all the cool stuff and heard all the great things about going wireless and then it just hit you.
    However, that works you don’t know or care but it hit you. That was it, the little voice in your head said, “do it” and that was that.


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    nfortunately, that was awhile ago and since that “moment” you’ve done your part.

    You did some research into what was needed to upgrade your computer but it’s all just so darn confusing. You keep thinking, why can’t someone just give me a few basics so I feel more comfortable about this whole “upgrading” process.

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    If the above paragraph describes you and if you’re the typical computer user it probably does, then it’s time to exhale, calm your nerves, grab a latte and settle in because hopefully this article can shed a little understanding on at least one aspect of going wireless – the network card.

    Like most “typical” computers users, you love your computer and you’ve pretty good at surfing the net, using email and you’ve probably even gotten fairly proficient at using your favorite word processing program but when it comes to some of the more technical aspects of your computer or computing in general, you are probably about as close to a “deer in the headlights” as you can get.
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    Hey, no problem because you’ve stumbled across a source that hopefully can shed a little light into that wireless networking card abyss.

    See, those searching skills do come in handy.

    Let me start out by saying that when it comes to selecting a wireless networking card you can pretty much ignore all the hoopla except for the following three key factors: range, speed, and standards.

    Ok, let’s do it and take a look at a few specifics.
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    Below is a typical specification for wireless networking card.

    This one just happens to be for a Linksys wireless PCMCIA laptop card. Frankly, I can’t tell you if this card rocks or it stinks, I’m simply using it as an example. And with that, let’s take a closer look.

    Here’s the description from Amazon:
    11 Mbps high-speed transfer rate; interoperable with IEEE 802.11b (DSSS) 2.4Ghz-compliant equipment; plug-and-play operation provides easy set up; long operating range (up to 120m indoor); advanced power management features conserve valuable notebook PC battery life; rugged metal design with integrated antenna; compatible with virtually all major operating systems; works with all standard Internet applications; automatic load balancing and scale back; model no. WPC11
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    Like I mentioned above, most of the specs can be ignored.

    To start with, “compatible with virtually all major operating systems.” That means nothing.

    It’s simply fluff to expand the description to make the card appear better.

    Range

    Take a look at where it says “up to 120m indoor”.

    This means that the maximum range of the wireless card is 120 meters — sure if everything was perfect. And by the way, one meter is equal to about 39 inches or 3 feet.

    However, in the real world where nothing is ever perfect interference caused by thick walls, other power sources and the list goes on could reduce this number by as much as 90% – so just be aware of this.
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    And without enough range, your wireless network is no longer wireless and therefore – worthless.

    It serves no purpose to go wireless if you have to keep your computer next to the wireless port in order for it to work or if you have multiple computers to keep them all in the same room to get them to connect to each other.
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    As a rule of thumb, unless your walls are made of drywall or wood, it’s best to buy about four times the strength you think you’ll need.

    Even in perfect conditions, get twice what you think you’ll need – just to be safe.

    Speed

    Take another look at the description and find where it says Mbps.
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    Mbps is the speed of the wireless connection – 11 Mbps is about one and a half megabytes per second. All 802.11b wireless cards have a speed of 11Mbps, while 802.11g cards run at 54Mbps or nearly 5 times faster. And of course, the next generation will be even faster.

    Clearly, speed is important to your wireless network because it’s going to directly influence how long you have to wait to connect, how fast pages upload, file transfer rates, and your overall computer experience is always better when things download faster.
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    I don’t know about you but if something takes more than a few seconds to download, I start to get impatient.

    However, because there are currently very few Internet connections running at speeds over 11Mbps – it’s really as much as you need, at least for now.

    Standards

    You’ve probably noticed in the above specs the number 802.11 followed by a letter b. The b is the standard that the wireless device conforms too. Currently, there are 3 standards – a, b and g.

    In a nutshell, 802.11b and 802.11g are compatible with each other while 802.11a isn’t compatible with either.
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    Due to the incompatibility issues with the other two standards and because it’s an older less robust standard I would stay away from cards using it.

    Between b and g, b is cheaper but slower, while g is more expensive but faster. It’s also worth considering that adding a b-speed device to a network that has g-speed devices will often slow the whole network down to b-speed, making the g-devices pointless.

    Basically, the network will operate at the speed of its weakest link.
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    If your wireless device doesn’t conform to the right standards, it’s not going to be much good to you. I often see uninformed people bidding for used wireless equipment on eBay, not realizing that it’s going to be terribly slow and may not work with other equipment they might have.

    Always check what standard the wireless equipment is using and if you don’t know the 802.11 letter, don’t buy it!

    A great place to research and find answers to everything “wireless” is Zephyr Net. Simply click the Wifi Hotspot link in the resource box below.

    Wireless POS And Wireless Mobile Computing- Restaurant Software That Increases Profits

    Until recently, restaurant and hospitality owners were wary of adopting wireless POS systems for their establishments.
    Issues such a cost, ease of use and a general uncertainty about new technology caused them to take pause.


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    owadays, however, with the popularity of PDA’s, Blackberries, cell phones and the like, mobile technology and wireless mobile computing has become main stream, and hospitality providers are taking a second look.

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    In a high cost and competitive market, it’s no wonder that those in the hospitality industry want technology to help them increase revenues.

    But how can a wireless POS device help them achieve this?

    Wireless mobile computing can help in many ways.

    One such instance is by eliminating the need for staff to line up at a specific POS terminal to place orders.
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    By utilizing mobile technology, serving staff are more productive since time spent during the order taking process is decreased. Wireless mobile computing also allows serving staff to place orders instantly, and then go directly to the next table, thereby increasing table turns.

    And because serving staff are more productive, significant savings can be seen through decreased labor costs.

    Another drawback to stationary POS terminals is that serving staff usually place a number of orders at once to the kitchen, overwhelming kitchen staff.

    Placing orders tableside eliminates this problem, as orders are more evenly spaced.
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    One important benefit to also consider with a wireless POS solution is that by placing orders directly at the table, order taking is more accurate and less food is wasted. This directly translates into decreased food costs.

    Also, serving staff can spend more time with customers, which significantly increases up-sell opportunities.

    Utilizing wireless mobile computing in a hospitality environment also allows restaurateurs to approach staffing in a more cost effective and efficient way.
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    Instead of scheduling a large number of serving staff who are responsible for all the order taking and food delivery, a wireless POS solution allows restaurant owners the opportunity to hire just a few skilled staff, give them larger sections, and make their primary focus greeting customers, taking orders and up selling.

    Non-serving staff can then be hired (at significant payroll savings) to dispatch food and clean sections. When serving staff are able to remain on the floor, the result is superior customer service and again increased sales through up selling and faster table turns.

    Now, Volante POS Systems of Toronto, Canada has come along and revolutionized the wireless POS industry in a creative and innovative way.
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    By using PC notebooks (not much bigger then a handheld) the entire POS software is loaded on the unit and it runs as a terminal with peer to peer, data synching etc. PDA’s don’t work in this manner- they require writing to the unit (in other words, new code, separate product) plus they’re not robust enough for Food and beverage.

    Volante has evolved its software into the peer to peer architecture, and now POS software can be loaded onto a small wireless notebook with amazing results. The technology is revolutionary – nobody else can do what Volante is doing.
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    This approach can work exceptionally well in venues that aren’t traditional table side establishments, such as stadiums, trade shows, casinos, arenas, race tracks and outdoor sales areas (such as rooftop patios for instance) where conventional POS terminals aren’t practical nor feasible.

    Wireless mobile computing from Volante offers even more important and innovative features. For instance, the menus on the notebook or handhelds are the exact same menus as on the traditional register.
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    The databases are in sync with one another. You don’t have to program them separately; they’re an extension of the host computer. This approach is less expensive because it doesn’t require separate servers for handhelds and traditional registers.

    And because Volante POS software is written in pure Java, its real time as well.

    For more information on how wireless POS technology and wireless mobile computing from Volante can help your business increase profits and productivity, email them at sales@volantesystems.com or visit their website at http://www.volantesystems.com.

    Wireless POS solutions truly allow Hospitality leaders to enter the 21st century, while also giving them an extra edge in a fiercely competitive industry.


    Wireless Router & Security: A Step-By-Step Guide

    Setting up a wireless router is easy.


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    ssentially you turn your cable or DSL modem off and your wireless router on.

    Then, you connect the router to the modem with a cable, and turn the modem back on. You are more or less done.

    The wireless network wizard on your computer will pick up the router and, if your ISP does not have any special requirements, away-you-go, you are on the Internet.

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    For ease of setup and configuration, manufacturers ship wireless routers with all security disabled.

    Therein lies the problem. If you do not take any further steps to secure your router, and a surprising number of people don’t, your network will be wide open to all passersby and strangers. It’s like you’ve hung out a sign, “The door is open. Please come in and help yourself.”
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    The problem is not that strangers will be able to use your router to access the Internet but that, without further protection, would-be intruders will be able monitor and sniff out information you send and receive on your network.

    Malicious intruders can even hop on to your internal network; access your hard drives; and, steal, edit, or delete files on your computer.

    The good news is that it is relatively easy to secure your wireless router.

    Here are three basic steps you should take.

    1. Password protect the access to your router’s internal configuration

    To access your router’s internal setup, open a browser and enter the routers setup URL.
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    The URL will be specified in the manual. The URLs for D-Link and Linksys routers, two major manufacturers of wireless routers, are http://192.168.0.1 and http://192.168.1.1, respectively.

    For Linksys routers, leave the user name blank and type “admin” (without the quotes) in the password field and press enter. To change the password, simply click on the Password tab and enter your new password.

    For other routers, please consult your manual. Alternately, you can search on the Internet with the term “default login for “.

    Don’t be surprised to find quite a number of pages listing default login parameters for many different routers, even uncommon ones.

    2. Change the default SSID (Service Set IDentifier)

    The SSID is the name of a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network). All wireless devices on a WLAN use SSIDs to communicate with each other.
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    Routers ship with standard default SSIDs. For example, the default SSID for Linksys routers is, not unsurprisingly, “Linksys”.

    As you can see, if you don’t change the default SSID of your router a would-be intruder armed with a few common SSIDs from major manufacturers will be able to find your wireless network quite easily.

    To change the SSID, click on the Wireless tab. Look for an input item labeled SSID. It will be near the top. Enter a new name for network. Don’t use something like “My Network”. Use a name that is hard to guess.

    3. Disable SSID broadcast

    Wireless enabled computers use network discovery software to automatically search for nearby SSIDs.
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    Some of the more advanced software will query the SSIDs of nearby networks and even display their names. Therefore, changing the network name only helps partially to secure your network.

    To prevent your network name from being discovered, you must disable SSID broadcast.

    In the same screen that you changed the name of your network, you will see options for SSID broadcast. Choose “Disable SSID” to make your network invisible. Now save all your settings and log out.

    Since your wireless network is now invisible, you will have to configure your computers to connect to your wireless network using the new name. On Windows XP, start by clicking on the wireless icon in the Notification Area and proceed from there.

    With these three steps, your network now has basic security.

    However, if you keep sensitive information on your computers, you may want to secure your wireless network even further.

    For example, you can…
    – Change the channel your router uses to transmit and receive data on a regularly basis.
    – Restrict devices that can connect to the router by filtering out MAC (Media Access Control) addresses.
    – Use encryption such as WEP and WPA.

    As with most things in life, security is a trade off between cost (time, money, inconvenience) and benefit (ease of use).
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    It is a personal decision you make. However for the majority of home uses, the three basic steps plus WEP/WPA encryption provides reasonably strong security.

    Turning on encryption is a two-step process.

    First you configure your router to use encryption using an encryption key of your choice. And then, you configure your computer to use the encryption key.

    The actual process of configuring your router for encryption varies from router to router. Please consult the router’s manual.
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    There are even stronger methods for ensuring security.

    A strong and robust security method is RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service). Using RADIUS requires additional hardware and software.

    However, there are companies that offer RADIUS security as a subscription based service. The fees are reasonable and dropping.

    Therefore for example, if you run a business on your wireless network, have sensitive data on your computers such as credit card information, and have a number of users who access your network, you should consider using RADIUS.

    Since the service sector for RADIUS is dynamic and growing, a search on the Internet with terms like “RADIUS subscription” or “RADIUS service” is probably the best way to locate one.