Long-range wireless is the sharing of information between wireless devices or computers. Also called WiFi, wireless technology typically transmits data at high speeds and allows users to connect from distances of up to 40 miles (about 64.37 km). In wireless technology, computer data is converted into radio waves and travels through the air. A wireless router picks ups these waves and translates them back into data. This process is similar to the technology used by cell phones, walkie-talkies, and other two-way communication devices.
Due to the high speed of long-range wireless, more data can be transferred in shorter amounts of time. Although wireless technology is fast, there are some cases where more speed is necessary. The connection range and speed usually can be extended by special antennas or power amplifiers.
Adding boosters can be a disadvantage, though — not only do they increase speed they also make the connection more vulnerable to threats and other technical problems. Another minor concern with long-range wireless is the blocking of the line of sight (LOS). This means city users must consider obstructions such as buildings, microwave signals, and radio stations, while those who live in more rural areas are more concerned with trees and loss of signal due to being located too far outside of the connection range.
Wireless technology is being used by millions worldwide. Businesses and educational institutions use wireless technology to establish coverage, provide remote support, and to complete research. Residential uses of long-range wireless include remote access, access to hard to reach rural areas, and local WiFi networks. For people who are away from home or are at work, there are WiFi hotspots in public that allow users to connect to the Internet via a wireless transmitter.
To access the Internet via a wireless connection, one must have the necessary equipment. The vast majority of laptops built after 2000 come equipped with a wireless transmitter. For desktop computers and laptops that may not be wireless-ready, users usually have the choice of purchasing a wireless adapter. Wireless adapters are designed for Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and personal computer (PC) card slots.