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Chapter 1. Why Wireless?

Chapter 1. Why Wireless?

Wireless. The word evokes those heady days long ago when radio ruled the entertainment world and families gathered around a console radio the size of a coffee table and marveled at a technology that emitted disembodied voices from far away. Though we now take radio for granted, back then it was pure magic each time words and music came out, without even the need for wires between the receiver and a transmitter that could be miles away.

Fast forward to the present, where a different kind of radio is taking the computer world by storm. Now the radios are minuscule chips embedded in credit card-sized devices that plug into computers themselves not much larger than pads of writing paper. These radios transmit and receive not the scratchy voices and sound effects of a newscast but tiny chunks of zeros and ones—computer data. In the past, radio connected people and made possible the first mass culture; today, radio connects our computers with wireless networks and the greater Internet.


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