The Advantage of WiFi to College Studies - dummies

The Advantage of WiFi to College Studies

The ability to study where and what you want requires access to the internet and your study skills will be enhanced by using a wireless, (WiFi), connection to the internet. Wireless network adaptors are pretty much standard equipment for laptop computers these days.

Most tertiary level education establishments have wireless router broadband connections, which allow several devices to connect to the Internet at the same time. The wireless routers convert and broadcast the signals coming down the telephone wires in a specific area – such as a lecture theatre or halls of residence – and work in the same way as a cordless telephone.

Public or commercial establishments normally broadcast within a radius of around 100 metres. The area covered from private homes is smaller, but even so, you may find that you can pick up a wireless connection on your laptop in the street or in a park because you’re within the broadcast area of the signal.

WiFi hotspots (the areas in which you know that you can get a wireless Internet connection) are often provided by businesses for their customers, so use by other individuals would be seen as poaching. However, as wireless broadband is now more common in residential areas you sometimes find signal overlaps, making it difficult to know whose private wireless signal you’re using!

If you do use a WiFi hotspot, you won’t know what security measures the owner of the wireless router has put in place, so it may be possible, for instance, for a third party to sniff out your password for your email account. So make sure that you have taken steps to safeguard your system by installing an Internet security system. Some anti-virus software is freely available on line.

As PCs aren’t generally mobile, manufacturers assume that Internet connection is through a wired system and so PCs come supplied with a wired Ethernet adapter for this purpose. If you want to connect a personal computer to a wireless system, for instance, so that you can use the free wireless facilities in your room, you need a wireless adapter. This can be in the form of an add-in expansion card in one of the available slots in your PC and can be a permanent installation.

Alternatively, wireless adapters come in the form of a USB plug-in that you can plug into any available USB port on your system. These adapters are usually quite small and not expensive.

If you have a PC and free access to wireless broadband, it’s probably much cheaper to buy a wireless adapter than to pay for wired Internet connection: if you don’t have a phone line already, having to wait for one to be connected can take up valuable time.

Alternatively, you can arrange to do all your work on campus. Most parts, including the library and computer clusters are likely to be open till at least 9.00 p.m. during the week and during the daytime at the week-end.