The Home Wireless System
The Laptop WiFi system, created earlier with the PCMCIA card, is also available to PCs to create your Home Wireless Network. Therefore, for that step to take place, the next thing that you need is a router that will create an access point. This will issue a wireless signal that has the frequencies for the wireless connection. This router has a hookup to a high-speed Internet connection. The connection then goes back to the ISP, which delivers the Internet packets to the home. This is the cable or DSL connection provided by AT&T, or Comcast, or any number of Internet Providers.
In most instances, you can connect multiple PCs or laptops to your home wireless system. All will have access to the local network, i.e. your home network. The one feature that can be a problem is security.
In a home wireless system, your connection can be open, and not secure. In this case, as you are sending items across the network to print, for example, your tax forms; these tax forms may be compromised by marauders that pick up the signal, and download your information. Then your personal information is in their hands.
To avoid this danger, wireless systems have some security features. One possibility is to encrypt the connection to the laptop or PC and the wireless system with a WEP key. This means that as you send information over the wire, you avoid sending it in clear text, which anyone can pick up and read. Encryption changes the appearance of the words before they go over the wire and are decrypted at the receiving end.
WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. A WEP key brings a security feature to WiFi networks. It is a code set, for example1A648C9FE2, that allow a group of PCs and or laptops on a local network to exchange encrypted messages with each other while hiding the contents of the messages from outsiders.
There are other security elements available such as WPA, TKIP, EAP, LEAP, and PEAP. They are variations of WEP, but usually they are more secure.