Wi Fi Technology
Wi-Fi, also known as “wireless fidelity” is a wireless technology based on the 802. 11 network. Wi-Fi is an excellent technology that makes it possible for computers and personal digital assistants (PDA’s) to connect to the internet wirelessly. This technology makes it possible for users to access data online whenever they are near an access point, which is commonly referred to as a “hotspot”. While there are both advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi technology, I believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and that Wi-Fi will get better, faster, and more secure in time.
During the late 90’s the 802. 11 network was released for wireless local area networks (WLAN’s). This wireless network allows users with wireless devices to access the internet at any hotspot. Hotspots are located in airport terminals, coffee shops, Colleges, and even major cities. This technology allows casual users to go to the local coffee shop with their laptop computer and enjoy a coffee while surfing the web. At the same time it allows business users to access their work email or check out their itinerary while at the airport waiting for their flight. “802. 1 has helped form the foundation of the future of an invisible nervous system that is growing all around us. For the first time in history, location no longer limits the ability to communicate”(Drumheller, 2006). There are many advantages of Wi-Fi. Hotspots are located in most cities and are available worldwide. With Wi-Fi you are not limited to indoors as there are no cables or wires to worry about. It’s a very efficient way of providing internet access, as there are no cables needed to connect, which can be a burden when trying to connect more than one device in separate locations at home.
Wi-Fi is also great for video gamers as they can use the Nintendo DS handheld game system to connect through a Wi-Fi hotspot and play a multiplayer game against another gamer in a different country. There are disadvantages to Wi-Fi as well. While utilizing Wi-Fi on an electronic device that uses batteries, the power is drained at a faster rate. There are limited ranges on the network, which may cause disconnections. Security is also an issue and may be easily hacked if encryption isn’t enabled. “Regardless of the technical effectiveness of ireless security methods, it will always be possible to exploit the human tendency to take security for granted”(Woodward, 2006). Wi-Fi has had an enormous impact on our society and will continue to do so through newer and faster technology. Wi-Fi has helped users get data when they need it the most and right away with very little difficulty. We live in a fast paced world today where people want online now and here, not later and tomorrow. With Wi-Fi this is quickly achieved. Hotspots will continue to grow as more and more users adapt to this fast paced environment.
Wi-Fi technology is definitely the solution to a better life and will continue to move forward as information technology enhances. Wireless Fidelity or “Wi-Fi” as users commonly refer to it as, is a wireless technology that let’s users connect their devices to the internet via “hotspots”. While this technology seems like it’s popularity keeps growing everywhere, there are pros and cons that both current and future users should be aware about. A pro about Wi-Fi is that location is no longer limited as in where you can get internet access.
You can get online in a lot of public places that include hotspots, which is really convenient. More and more cities are starting to include free Wi-Fi to its residents. “For the past three years, Fredericton (core population 50,000) has been the poster child for municipal WiFi. Its free service, known as Fred eZone, covers the city’s downtown core, and some fringe areas, with 1,200 WiFi units. Residents can connect to the Net via mobile devices from just about anywhere”(Harvey, 2007). When you combine Wi-Fi with free access, you really have a complete package that users are looking for these days.
A con about Wi-Fi is the security or protection of the hotspot connection that users access. Identity theft is huge and a lot of hotspot locations are vulnerable to attacks. As security gets better, hackers too learn new and faster methods to hack hotspot connections to gain users valuable information. “T-Mobile and AT, the largest providers of Wi-Fi hot spots in coffee shops, bookstores and airports, don’t require encryption of data traveling wirelessly between laptops and the Internet. Neither do hotels and municipalities with free Wi-Fi hookups in public areas. “If ou’re using Wi-Fi in a public place and you’re not getting hacked, it’s only because there’s nobody around bothering to do it,” says Robert Graham, CEO of consultancy Errata Security”(Acohido, 2007). Wi-Fi users need to be aware of both pros and cons. While users aren’t limited to location as they are with cables connecting them, they are limited when it comes to securing their connection at a hotspot. Users need to be aware of this and take advantage of the information that’s out there so they can help protect personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
Wi-Fi has come along way since the late 90’s, and as long as users stay aware of both the good and bad that come with this technology, hotspots will continue to expand over the globe. Some people call it stealing, while others call it borrowing. Most users call it “free loading”, and it’s slowly creating more and more problems throughout different hotspots each and every day. The availability of the Internet through wireless connections has dramatically changed the way we go about our day in the world today.
While many security issues seem to plague wi-fi, both new coming and intermediate users still go about using their wi-fi enables devices. Are you stealing wi-fi when your computer automatically connects to a nearby neighbor’s connection? Are you borrowing wi-fi when you intentionally connect to another users connection in the same apartment building? These are a few questions that should be addressed. How do we as a society decide what’s moral and what’s not when it comes to wi-fi service?
Whether you call it borrowing or stealing, if you’re using another users wi-fi connection without their knowledge or approval, it’s wrong. If I were paying Internet service provider money each month to access data online, I would not want a free loader to access my connection for many reasons. We all want to surf the Internet at blazing speeds. When a free loader connects to our connection, our speed slows down and at times, lags. The more free loaders the slower the speed. Especially when you are online gaming and it’s crucial for the movement to flow, which starts to lag when someone else is using your connection.
We want a safe and secure connection where we can safely pay our bills and check our bank accounts online. When using wi-fi, a lot of users are unsure how to protect themselves from online threats. “It seems more and more have finally decided to enable WEP (wired equivalent privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi protected access). Good for them! Unfortunately, hackers use simple tools to break WEP encryption. Even WPA pass phrases, which are much stronger than WEP passwords, can be foiled”(Beyond WEP: Beef Up Your Wi-Fi Security, 2007).
Free loading is an easy was to steal another users identity. Identity theft has been a major problem on the Internet. Especially through wi-fi, where you are less protected. They have devices that anyone can pick up at the local computer store, which allow you to check on the availability of wi-fi in the surrounding area. How easy would it be for a free loader to pick up this device and drive around neighborhoods looking for a wi-fi connection at a local house. They could then pull over and park, take out a laptop and connect to the w-fi connection.
Once connected, it would take minutes for an experienced hacker to connect to the home computer and access private data, including bank accounts and passwords. This is why it’s vital to check your home computers connection a few times a week at minimum to ensure you are the only one using the wi-fi connection. “By next year, Oakland County, Mich. , plans to offer Wi-Fi to 400,000 customer. “Everybody needs the Internet,” Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini says, “and we want it available to everyone. ”(Keen, 2007).
With numbers like these and all of the public places that offers free wi-fi access like public libraries, coffee shops, and malls, you would think that free loaders would have plenty of other options. I believe that free loaders should be looked upon worse than cable thieves. If someone is caught stealing cable they can be criminally charged and pay big fines. By stealing cable someone gains free t. v. which also causes profit losses for the company. By stealing wi-fi, someone not only gets free Internet access, but they can also gain valuable data, which could really harm someone’s life.
Free loading wi-fi should be dealt with immediately and persons using free loading to gain data from another should be charged by the law. It’s immoral to steal from someone and free loaders are doing it everyday. While security may get better in the future and protect wi-fi users more and more from hacker attacks, it’s still extremely important to keep up with current wi-fi technology and how to protect yourself with basic steps. References Acohido, B. (2007, August 7). Public Wi-Fi use raises hacking risk ; Encryption lacking at many hot spots :[FINAL Edition].
USA TODAY,p. B. 3. Retrieved September 12, 2007, from ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1316305431). Beyond Wep: Beef Up Your Wi-Fi Security. (2007, October). PC Magazine, 26(19), Retrieved September 26, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1336987371) Drumheller, R. (2006). 802. 11 Standards. Faulkner Information Services. EDITORIAL: Wi-Fi in Philadelphia: Connecting . . . (7 October). Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, Retrieved October 8, 2007, from Business Dateline database. (Document ID: 1358941321)
Harry Wallop Consumer Affairs Correspondent (2007, October 6). Free wi-fi could be coming soon to a hotspot near you. The Daily Telegraph,p. 008. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1357916271) Harvey, I. (11 September). GETTING ON THE WIFI GAME. The Globe and Mail,22. Retrieved September 12, 2007, from ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1333708431). Keen, J. (2007, September 20). Cities turning off plans for Wi-Fi ; Complexity, cost doom efforts to create access :[FINAL Edition]. USA TODAY,p. A. 1.
Retrieved September 26, 2007, from ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1338965881) Marshall Loeb MarketWatch (2007, October 7). ID theft may be just mouse click away. Deseret News,p. M12. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from ProQuest Newsstand database. (Document ID: 1359336111) MIKE ROGOWAY (2007, October 6). Free Wi-Fi’s future seems up in the air. The Oregonian, Retrieved October 8, 2007, from Business Dateline database. (Document ID: 1358678251) Woodward, K. (2006). Wi-Fi Protected Access Security Standards. Faulkner Information Services.