Monday, October 26, 2009

Ethernet Connections - Wireless Ethernet Cards

These days it seems that everything is going wireless, from ordinary household appliances to gadgets you hook to your cell phone. The computer world is no different. Wireless network connections are becoming more popular as home users search for an easier way to connect multiple computers to a broadband Internet connection.

There are three current standards and one proposed standard in the wireless network card world:

• 802.11a: Provides up to 54 Mbps of data connectivity but has only a 35-meter range.

• 802.11b: Provides only up to 11 Mbps but has a larger range than the 802.11a specification.

• 802.11g: Provides up to 54 Mbps and has a larger range than the 802.11b specification.

• 802.11n (proposed): Provides up to 248 Mbps, with a range of up to 70 meters.

The benefits of the new 802.11n wireless have made it a commercial success, even before
its formal adoption as a network standard. The downside to wireless network cards is that many of them don’t provide drivers for Linux. Ubuntu can detect and use many wireless network cards, but not all of them.

Besides the network type, you also must worry about whether the wireless network is protected by a security system. Wireless networks offer several types of encryption schemes to protect them from unwanted visitors. The most popular encryption schemes used are

• WEP: The wired equivalent privacy protocol is the oldest and least secure encryption scheme. It uses RC4 encryption with either a 64- or 128-bit key. The key is usually entered as a series of hexadecimal digits, often as text characters, to create a password.

• WPA: The Wi-Fi protected access protocol uses the RC4 encryption scheme with a 128-bit key but dynamically changes the key as the system is used. It can be used with a server that provides separate keys to each device on the network or, for less secure environments, it can provide a pre-shared key (PSK) mode in which multiple computers on the network can share the same key.

• WPA2: The second version of the Wi-Fi protected access protocol uses a more secure advanced encryption standard (AES)-based scheme that for now is considered fully secure and not breakable.

You must know the encryption type as well as the password to connect to a wireless network that uses a security scheme. If you happen to find a network that’s not encrypted, Network Manager will automatically connect you.

Source of Information : Wiley Ubuntu Linux Secrets

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