Wi-Fi is old hat for Mac users; Apple launched Airport in July 1999

“Wi-Fi is a shining example of how wireless innovation can itself shed the constricting cables of conventional wisdom. At one point it was assumed that when people wanted to use wireless devices for things other than conversation, they’d have to rely on the painstakingly drawn, investment-heavy standards adopted by the giant corporations that rake in the dough through your monthly phone bill. But then some geeks came up with a new communications standard exploiting an unlicensed part of the spectrum (which the wonks at the FCC called ‘junk band,’ stuff designated for techno-flotsam like microwave ovens and cordless phones). It was called 802.11 and only later sexed up with the Wi-Fi moniker,” Steven Levy writes for Newsweek.

“Though the range of signal was usually no more than a few hundred feet or less, Wi-Fi turned out to be a great way to wirelessly extend an Internet connection in the home or office. A new class of activist was born: the bandwidth liberator, with a goal of extending free wireless Internet to anyone venturing within the range of a gratis hotspot. Meanwhile, Apple Computer seized on the idea as a consumer solution, others followed and now Wi-Fi is as common as the modem once was,” Levy writes. Full article here.

Of course, for Mac users, Wi-Fi is old hat. Mac users have been using it since July 1999.

27 Comments

  1. And it’s a pain in the ass with so many people trying to hack in and unexplained “outages” requiring a reset. Encrytption slows everything down.

    I’m happier back to cables, seems more stable and secure. Someone has to splice in to gain access. Apple Remote Desktop works better over Ethernet than wireless.

    For net cafes and the like, WiFi is perfect. In the office and at home with desktop machines. CAT5 and a hub, much better, got a problem?, just unplug the bastard.

    Even a wireless keyboard can be snooped on, better too.

  2. I’m not going back to cable, thank you. Sitting in my easy chair in my living room and moving to kitchen to have some afternoon tea.
    And when my older son is at home, to have two long ethernet cables snaking around after us. Simply no way!

  3. both have their pluses and minuses. I have wireless at home and work. I plunk my titanium wherever I want in the house. living room, kitchen, the deck….at work its the same thing, I put it down next to my work station ( I work for a small design firm) and get my email. But at work we also have gigabit ethernet for moving large files around. would I give up my wireless? No way! is it perfect for everything? no way……

  4. I agree with macBrett, only I have wireless at the office and CAT5e at home with a little used wireless option. The wireless at the office has been an affordable alternative to a very time consuming and expensive rewiring of the original hardwired network which used telephone cables running through the walls and attic. Yipes!

  5. Wired access is always best for security and stability… but I hate dragging 100 feet of cable out to the patio table when I feel like working outside for an hour.

    I have a 2nd generation (snow) Airport, and haven’t had to reset it for about 6 months now – since a program revision late last year.

    Getting some Windows machines to work with it can be a pain… but by the end of this year, the entire office will be Macs, so who cares?

  6. This is the one topic where I am honestly grateful to Bill Gates and Microsoft.

    Since Windows never really got plug and play right and adding any type of peripheral could be a re-install everything, service tech type adventure, many people who set up wi-fi on their Windows machine are just happy if things work so they never add any type of security to their wi-fi network. This means I can hijack a wi-fi network literally all over town.

  7. I am on a wireless network at home because it allows both the iMac downstairs and my Tibook (usually upstairs but really anywhere) to share the same connection without having to run wires all over the house. Plus when my Mom in Law comes over with her 14″ iBook she is online automatically too and I am online whenever I visit her. I have also stayed at two hotels where the ONLY Broadband connection available was Wi-Fi. I think is is a much easier and cheaper solution for them and so I think it also contributes to more Hotels offering Broadband which is great for staying in touch with home with vid chats on iChat AV (AND no phone bills ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  8. I am still using the original graphite Airport Base along with two Apple laptops at home. (PB Pismo G3 with original airport card and G$ iBOOK with Extreme card. Going on four years of 24/7 operation for that base and it has been reset three times in that period. (Software updates.)

    Would never go back. When you live in a three story house, the thought of using cables to connect your roaming laptops to the network using cables is simply a laughable option. Especially considering how robust and reliable the Apple WI-FI system has proven itself to be.

  9. my friend told me that you can allow your neighbors to connect to your base station and charge them a monthy subscription fee through the apples macforpay sofware. im buying the base station at the apple store in 45 minutes. he said pick the one that is orange.

  10. secret chink, so what? there are private networks throughout the catskills sharing a single cable connection. As long as no one on the network is throwing gobs of porn downline there is no way to tell.

    As for google, when you get a computer, try searching for macforpay software. smartass.

  11. I’m sat typing into the laptop now on the sofa, listening to music on our lounge stereo with my partner beside me. I compare that to how it was before wi-fi, when I was in a different room whenever I wanted to access the Net. From a home networking point of view, Wi-fi makes as big a difference to the way you use the Internet as broadband connections did. I’ll be very surprised if anyone breaks my Wi-fi network, but even if they do, every Mac on it has ipfw configured to only allow shared printer and iTunes access by default. So I hope they like my music. To go back to my clubbing days:-

    Tune

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