Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi)

A person with a Wi-Fi enabled device such as a computer, cell phone or PDA can connect to the Internet when in proximity of an access point. The region covered by one or several access points is called hotspot. Hotspots can range from a single room to many square miles of overlapping hotspots. Wi-Fi can also be used to create a mesh network. Both architectures are used in community networks.

Wi-Fi also allows connectivity in peer-to-peer (wireless ad-hoc network) mode, which enables devices to connect directly with each other. This connectivity mode is useful in consumer electronics and gaming applications.

When the technology was first commercialized there were many problems because consumers could not be sure that products from different vendors would work together. The Wi-Fi Alliance began as a community to solve this issue so as to address the needs of the end user and allow the technology to mature. The Alliance created the branding Wi-Fi CERTIFIED to show consumers that products are interoperable with other products displaying the same branding.

History of ICT in the world

The first commercial business computer was developed in the United Kingdom in 1951, by the Joe Lyons catering organization. This was known as the 'Lyons Electronic Office' - or LEO for short. It was developed further and used widely during the 1960s and early 1970s. (Joe Lyons formed a separate company to develop the LEO computers and this subsequently merged to form English Electric Leo Marconi and then International Computers Ltd.)

Early commercial systems were installed exclusively by large organizations. These could afford to invest the time and capital necessary to purchase hardware, hire specialist staff to develop custom software and work through the consequent (and often unexpected) organizational and cultural changes.

At first, individual organizations developed their own software, including data management utilities, themselves. Different products might also have 'one-off' custom software. This fragmented approach led to duplicated effort and the production of management information needed manual effort.

High hardware costs and relatively slow processing speeds forced developers to use resources 'efficiently'. Data storage formats were heavily compacted, for example. A common example is the removal of the century from dates, which eventually lead to the 'millennium bug'.

Data input required intermediate processing via punched paper tape or card and separate input to computers, usually for overnight processing. Data required validation in batches. All of this was a repetitive, labour intensive task, removed from user control and error-prone. Invalid or incorrect data needed correction and resubmission with consequences for data and account reconciliation.

Data storage was strictly serial on paper tape, and then later to magnetic tape: the use of data storage within readily accessible memory was not cost-effective.

Results would be presented to users on paper. Enquiries were delayed by whatever turnaround was available.