Download (direct link):
Hospitality: The hotel industry earns a big chunk of its money from business travelers (who usually pay more per room than vacationers who book six months in advance on special rates). Every road-warrior type needs high-speed Internet access — many hotels have begun to offer hot spots in their lobbies, meeting rooms, and even some guest rooms.
Airports: Another “hot” location for providing hot spot access to business travelers is the airport terminal, lounges, and other common areas (such as restaurants).
Convention centers: Keeping the theme of supporting business travelers (who have expense accounts to use) in mind, you won’t be surprised that convention centers are being outfitted with wireless network gear as a matter of course. The hardest part about putting together one of these networks is finding a system that can support the thousands of connections that a busy conference may demand.
Chapter 1: Wireless Inside Everything!
Beyond the hot spot we find the hot zone — a wireless network that covers a few square miles instead of just a few hundred feet. Hot zones can use a variety of different network technologies — most use the familiar Wi-Fi technologies that we explain in depth in Chapter 2 (and which we discuss throughout the book), but you may also find hot zones that use special proprietary wireless technologies (and therefore require special network adapters or wireless “modems”) to get connected.
Yes, we know that Hot Zone is also the name of a book and movie about a horrifying Ebola virus outbreak. We agree that it’s an unfortunate name — but we decided not to make up our own term for it that no one else in the world would ever use!
Like hot spots, hot zones can be found just about anywhere, but here are some locations that you might run into:
* Universities: Many universities — we can almost say most these days — have built campuswide networks, usually using Wi-Fi equipment, to provide network access to students, staff, and faculty. We know this first-hand — both of our wives work on university campuses, and both access the university hot zones quite frequently. Universities are hotbeds of hot zone and hot spot action.
* Corporate campuses: Many of the largest corporations, such as Microsoft, operate not just in a single building, but in a campus of interconnected or adjoining buildings. Many of these same enterprises have spent money installing huge wireless hot zones for their employees, partners, customers, and guests. If you’re in luck, they give you a password and let you on their network too!
* Economic zones: Just as many countries set up regions which are “free trade zones” or “economic development zones,” so too have many municipalities looked at wireless hot zones as a tool to stimulate the economy in parts of their cities. An example is Long Beach, California — a really pretty town with a big port and a closed Navy base that needed a little boost. The city leaders there have “unwired” a big chunk of the city, providing a free Wi-Fi hot zone to bring businesses, customers, and tourists downtown.
* Municipal networks: On a wider scale, many cities are considering city-wide hot zones (usually using Wi-Fi) as a municipal service and as a means of stimulating development. The most famous of these is being developed in the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, home of the famous Pat’s cheese steaks), but scores of smaller cities are doing the same thing. The only thing that’s holding this movement back is the local telephone and cable companies, who — in what we think is the mother of all negative PR moves — are fighting these networks tooth and nail.
Part I: Making Your World Wireless
Wireless Gear: The New Standard
Of course, all of these wireless networks won’t mean a thing if your electronic gear and gizmos don’t have the ability to “talk” wirelessly. It’d be like going to a skinny-dipping party without your swimsuit . . . oh, never mind. Anyway, having the proper wireless equipment built into your gear is important.
The good news here is that electronic gizmos with wireless networking already built in are becoming commonplace; adding built-in wireless to equipment that hasn’t got it already is a snap; and it’s getting to be darn near impossible to be totally blocked out of the wireless world.
In this section, we take a 50,000-foot view of the electronics world and explain how wireless networks are (or soon will be) touching just about every part of your life.
The most obvious place to look for wireless networking capabilities is within the realm of computers. (We’re known for our fantastic grasp of the obvious.) Computers were the first use of wireless networking technology that allowed users to cut the cord, and today, computers are the most “unwired” of all devices (next to cellphones, of course).
We’re talking desktop computers, laptops, and notebooks, as well as handheld (“palm” or “pocket”) PCs here. Almost all of the new models have been enabled for wireless networking, and — as a matter of fact — wireless networks have basically become standard equipment for almost any kind of computer. Almost the only exceptions we can think of are supercomputers, high-powered workstations (the kind engineers and designers often use), and super-high-capacity network server computers that are used for things like Web sites, e-mail hosting, or file storage. These kinds of computers transfer so much data that they need the fastest of the fast networked connections, which means wired.