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Chapter 10. The Future of Wireless > Challenges Facing Wireless

Challenges Facing Wireless

As much as the future seems rosy with respect to wireless networking, a wide variety of challenges loom on the horizon. The question that gnaws at us all as we contemplate spending our hard-earned money on some device is obsolescence—will you regret buying into Wi-Fi instead of waiting for something else, perhaps based on the cell phone network? If you do decide to install and use a Wi-Fi network, the questions don't stop. As we discussed in Chapter 6, Wireless Security, 802.11b has suffered from well-publicized security holes, adding another concern for anyone transmitting sensitive data over a wireless network connection. You may find yourself grappling with the ethical and even legal issues of whether or not it's acceptable to share Internet connections via a wireless network. That's a significant issue with public community networks. Although these community networks would seem to be a good thing, the Internet service providers whose connections are being used far more heavily than anticipated are unhappy about the trend.

Wireless Obsolescence

It can be hard to overcome the fear of obsolescence with any technology, but angst is especially great when it comes to wireless networking, in part due to the number of devices involved. For instance, you typically must buy not just a wireless network adapter for your computer, but also an access point. And if you want to add multiple computers, that increases the investment in the technology. Should you worry about the 802.11b networking gear you've already purchased becoming useless tomorrow? And if you haven't yet bought into the technology, does it make sense to wait? In both cases, we're happy to say that the answer is a resounding, “No!”


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