Wireless lans with 802.11b

How it's used: Compliant networking products complement or sometimes replace landlines by connecting users to enterprise networks. With 802.11b local-area networks, a desktop or laptop computer has a transceiver that communicates via radio waves with an access point that operates like a wireless phone receiving station. The access point collects transmissions and then uses a landline connection to tie into an enterprise network.

Why it's important: Employees are becoming increasingly mobile, roaming from office to office, working at home and visiting client or supplier sites. The 802.11b wireless LANs provide a standard foundation so that employees can easily tap into government networks and access needed information, such as e-mail

messages and relevant files, no matter where they are.

Benefits: The 802.11b standard enabled vendors to dramatically reduce wireless LAN product prices and boost transmission speeds. Also, information technology departments can set up and monitor wireless connections more easily.

State of the market: The wireless LAN market has a few dozen vendors selling these products, and worldwide revenues are expected to exceed $1 billion this year.

Areas of concern: Current 802.11b products offer only rudimentary security functions so such networks may serve as potential entry points for hackers. Migrating from current

11 megabits/sec connections to 802.11a speeds of 54 megabits/sec may be difficult because the two networking tools operate in different radio frequency bands.

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