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Welcome to the second installment of Thank God Its Gadget Friday. I've been pondering about what to talk about. Should I comment on the latest fad of Handheld Gaming Machines, or should I talk about the merits of LCD, Plasma or Rear Projection TVs? After some investigation of the latest Tech headlines I have opted to talk about Wireless Networks.

Arrgh. Yes, Arrgh. I currently work on a huge Wireless Network programme within a large corporation in the UK. I also have a 802.11b Wireless Network setup at home. Though not an amazingly knowledgeable expert in the matter, I've realised that there are some things that everyone who has or is considering getting a Wireless Network should think about.

There is a lot of TERROR talk about Wirless Networks. This TERROR talk usually hinges on the prospect of someone hijacking your connection. But there are ups and downs to that threat of TERROR. Firstly the up - if you have unknowling left your Wireless connection open to hackers, all they can really do is use your bandwidth (as long as your PCs are Firewalled and Virus Protected that is). The benefit of this is quite obscure - in that should anyone want to prosecute you on your surfing behaviour, e.g. use of Peer-to-Peer, there is little or no proof that it was YOU that did it. The log files on your Wireless router should be set to rotate and delete on a frequent basis, and voila, there is no evidence that it was your MAC Address (the unique signature code of your machine on the network) that was participating in the activity. The downside is that otherpeople can piggy back on your connection and take up your bandwidth.

Instead of going on extensively about how to configure security, I'm going to blabber on about new devices that you can use at home to make the most of your Wireless Network, and what I see the future of this infrastructure to be..

Voice Over IP - Skype - soon the whole VoIP market will pick up and there will be a rush to pick up the latest voip wireless phones. Vonage a decent company who handle this space, as well as cheap-call and especially actiontec-a-skype carrier are good starting material. Basicaly VoIP is where you use your internet conncetion to have clear voice conversations between locations. This is basically seen as being the future of telephony, replacing the current wired switched versions and ancient exchanges. I've used Skype before, its very clear, but has a huge overheard in terms of network traffic - so don't use it lots if you have a capped rate broadband connection. Otherwise, its a done deal.

Wireless Mobile Phones - XDA - - together with a mobile phone, a PDA you get the ability to connect and surf via 802.11b on the XdaIIs and XdaIIi. The benefits of this are that you can surf on a more mobile device than most laptops currently lend themselves to. This seems odd at first, but its really very very neat. You can access the internet on a PDA, that acts as your mobile whilst at home. This is useful for immediate access to stuff like webmail or newssites whilst sat on your sofa.

Wireless Digital Music Players - there are a lot of these on the market right now, so its hard to pick any of merit. The benefits are of course the ability to play mp3s that are stored on a remote PC elsewhere in the house. Sonace are pretty good at these devices...the iPort being one. Phillips also produce a model, but for now, its best to stick with PC based companies like Creative.

My vision of the future is very simple, and very doable. Basically I see a picture in my mind. A DVD Player, a VHS Player, a TV, a CD Player, and a HDD Recorder are all shipped and sold with 802.11g Wireless Network cards and capability built into the unit. They connect seamlessly and immediately to your in-home Sony Management Centre, which is basically a high-class Wireless Router/Switch with a lovely touch screen display. This Unit recognises the devices being shipped with a standard global security and networking setting, (that can be reverted to/reset easily) and then asks you if you want these new units to join your household network (or you type in the secret code for the device that then asks you if you want it to join). Once joined, the new device's security setting is changed, and the device is now available across the network in your home. So from now on, your DVD player can stream video to any tv on the networ, and you can listen to CDs on any tv in your house etc.

No more extra wiring required, just the powercable! Imagine it, just devices, loitered all over the place, even in cupboards, and all communicating and streaming data wirelessly!

That is it for Gadget Friday 2, its not been the best installment, but what with Dad still in hospital awaiting an op, and work piling up with politics, I've done what I can. Hope its entertaining and ultimately useful.


  1. Blogger Aravis says @ 5:58 am
    I've been out of touch with most of the gadgets they've come up with for the past year or two. So an entry like this one is helpful, perhaps moreso than you realize. I appreciate this new Gadget Friday you've begun as an opportunity to educate myself of what's out there, and what would meet my needs best when I'm ready to invest further.

    Thanks! :0)

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