Computer Networking Image Gallery
Computer Networking Image Gallery

Wireless networks make it easy to connect to the Internet. See more computer networking pictures.

HowStuffWorks.com

If you've been in an airport, coffee shop, library or hotel recently, chances are you've been right in the middle of a wireless network. Many people also use wireless networking, also called WiFi or 802.11 networking, to connect their computers at home, and some cities are trying to use the technology to provide free or low-cost Internet access to residents. In the near future, wireless networking may become so widespread that you can access the Internet just about anywhere at any time, without using wires.

WiFi has a lot of advantages. Wireless networks are easy to set up and inexpensive. They're also unobtrusive -- unless you're on the lookout for a place to watch streaming movies on your tablet, you may not even notice when you're in a hotspot. In this article, we'll look at the technology that allows information to travel over the air. We'll also review what it takes to create a wireless network in your home.

First, let's go over a few WiFi basics.