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Introduction to wireless

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Content starts here
»  1 Introduction
»  2 What is wireless?
»  3 What is the difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?
»  4 How do I set up my Wi-Fi?
»  5 How do I share a printer?
»  Learn more
A wireless computing user

1 Introduction

Wireless means you can access the Internet nearly anywhere. Using a wireless connection and your HP notebook or handheld PC, you can e-mail from the couch, instant-message from your patio, or do web research for a term paper at Starbucks.

And wireless is not just for people on the go. You can network your home PCs and printers without crisscrossing the hallways with cables. Everyone in your house or dorm room can share a single printer without switch boxes or other wiring headaches.
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2 What is wireless?

A person using a computer at a desk Wireless refers to the part between your computer and your Internet connection or to the part between your computer and your printer. For example, you still connect to the Internet through your cable modem, but your cable modem isn't actually wired to your computer.
The speed of your wireless connection is still dependent on the speed of your modem connection. So you won't be able to maximize super-speedy Wireless G if you have a dial-up modem.

Two types of wireless are Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) and Bluetooth.
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3 What is the difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

Wi-Fi refers to two types of wireless standards that can work with each other: 802.11b ("Wireless B") and the newer 802.11g ("Wireless G"). Both can connect your computers really quickly: 11 Megabits per second (Mbps) for Wireless B, or 54Mbps for Wireless G. By comparison, Ethernet networks connect at 100Mbps.

Bluetooth, which is the industry standard for personal area network (PAN) communication, is a short-range wireless technology meant to replace wiring such as parallel cords and USB cables. The most common uses of Bluetooth are printing and swapping files between a handheld PC and a notebook or desktop PC. Bluetooth makes it easy to print directly from your camera phone to a Bluetooth-enabled printer.
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4 How do I set up my Wi-Fi?

People using computers at a table Now let's look at the key components and how they all fit together. We'll start where your Internet connection begins.

· Base station: Instead of plugging your cable or DSL
modem into your computer, you plug it into a base station. The base station broadcasts your Internet connection and is sometimes referred to as a wireless access point or a wireless router. A router lets you share your Internet connection and files, plus it has extra Ethernet ports into which you can plug nonwireless computers or accessories.

· Hot spot: A hot spot is the area covered by the wireless signal. Your hot spot may be a little smaller if it has to broadcast through several walls or other types of obstructions. Hot spots can be found in a variety of places: hotels, airports, and even Starbucks!

· Wireless card in a PC: Finally, you need to add a wireless card to your HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario notebook PC. The adapter slides right into your PC card adapter. It receives signals from the base station, and it broadcasts signals back. And now Microsoft Windows XP comes standard with every new HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario PC. You’ll find the home-networking and Internet-sharing setup tools so incredibly intuitive and simple, you will be running in a matter of minutes.
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5 How do I share a printer?

People using computers at a table Once you've e-mailed from the couch and done web research while sunning on the patio, you certainly won't want to bind yourself to your desk just to print.

The printer is connected first to a print server with its
USB or parallel cord. The print server is then plugged into one of the Ethernet ports on the back of your wireless router, or even connected with Wi-Fi. The ease of Windows XP will get you up and running quickly.

Alternatively, look for a Bluetooth-enabled or infrared printer. Bluetooth will let you print wirelessly, without a print server, within 30 feet (plus or minus, depending on how many walls you're broadcasting through). Infrared technology requires an uninterrupted line of sight between notebook and printer.
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Related links

»  Go wireless at the HP wireless networking center
»  Ten tips for securing your wireless network
»  Take free online classes

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Learn more

Now that wireless has hit the mainstream, it's easier than ever to enjoy the benefits. HP has teamed with companies like T-Mobile to put hot spots in Starbucks coffee shops. Even companies like McDonalds are experimenting with the idea of providing easy, wireless access to the Internet. Learn more about high-speed Internet access at Starbucks.

And read more about HP's print servers and network-enabled printers at the Home & Home Office Store.
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