Wireless Routers and Different Standards

Question: I asked my ISP about a wireless router and they have one with an adaptor. My Sony Vaio is wireless-capable If it uses the 802.11a protocol do I have to have the adaptor?

The IT Guy says:
Be aware that there are different wireless computing formats and protocols, and each one is not necessarily compatible with the other. The most widely used wireless protocol is 802.11b, also referred to as “WiFi.†It permits data transfers up to 12 megabits per second. For home Internet use, most cable or DSL modems cannot access online content that fast, so for practical purposes (at least today) 802.11b transfer speeds are more than adequate for Internet surfing. If you need to exchange files on your local network, faster protocols can be helpful.

802.11g is the newer industry standard wireless computing protocol, permitting transfer speeds up to 54 megabits per second, and it IS backward compatible with 802.11b devices.

802.11a is a third wireless protocol, but it is NOT compatible with either 802.11b or 802.11g devices. So, if your Sony Vaio has an 802.11a wireless networking card, you will need to purchase or lease an 802.11a router to use it at home.

For more background and information on wireless computing standards and uses, refer to my article “Wireless Computing: New Opportunities and Challenges in Educationâ€.

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