Wi-Fi Device

Short for Wireless Fidelity, Wi-Fi utilizes one of the IEEE 802.11 wireless standards to achieve a wireless connection to a network. A home wireless network uses a wireless access point or router to broadcast a signal using WAP or WEP encryption to send and receive signals from wireless devices on the network. The picture shows a Wireless access point with two antennas and an example of how most home users connect to the Internet using a wireless device.
Wireless router
If the desktop computer or laptop does not have wireless it requires a wireless adapter in order to connect to the wireless network. Below are examples of the different Wi-Fi adapters that can be used with a computer to connect to a wireless network.
Computer wireless adapters
In the picture above, the first image is of a Linksys desktop Wi-Fi card that connects to a PCIslot on the motherboard. Next, the SMC wireless PC Card is used with older laptops that do not have a wireless option. Finally, the far right picture is of a Cisco USB Wi-Fi adapter that can be used on any computer with a USB port

Examples of devices that use Wi-Fi

Today, there are a number of devices that connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi. Below is a short list of some of the more popular Wi-Fi devices you may find in a home or office. Also, see our wireless definition for a list of other wireless device that use a different spectrum to communicate wirelessly.
  • Chromecast, Roku, and other streaming devices
  • Computers
  • Consoles, e.g. PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox
  • Digital photo frames
  • DVD and Blu-ray players
  • DVR and Set-top box
  • eBook readers
  • Home automation devices, e.g. Nest Thermostat
  • Printer
  • Scales
  • Smart TV
  • Smartphone
  • Speakers and stereo systems
  • Security cameras
  • Tablet.

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Apple iPhonesmartphone is a cell phone that allows you to do more than just make phone calls and send text messages. Smartphones can browse the Internet and run basic software programs like a computer and the user often interacts with the smartphone by using their finger on the touch screen. There are thousands of smartphone apps (software programs), including games, personal-use programs, and business-use programs that can all be ran from the phone. The picture is an example of the AppleiPhone, one of the most popular smartphones available today.
Like a computer, a smartphone has an operating system on it, like Windows or Mac OS. The four most common are iOS (created byApple), Android (created by Google), Blackberry (created by Research In Motion), and Windows Phone (created by Microsoft).

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NIC(Network Interface Card)

Short for Network Interface Card(NIC), is also referred to as an Ethernet card and network adapter. It is an expansion card that enables a computer to connect to a network; such as a home network, or the Internet using an Ethernet cable with an RJ-45 connector.

Network Interface Card or NIC
Due to the popularity and low cost of the Ethernet standard, most new computers have a network interface build directly into the motherboard. The top image shows the SMC EZ Card 10/100 PCI network card, one of the more common examples.
Wireless network cardThe beside picture shows a PC Card, more 
specifically the SMC EZ Card 10/100 wireless 
network card; found in laptop computers that do not have onboard wireless capabilities.

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 Short for MODulator/DEModulator, the first Modem known as the Dataphone, which was first released by AT&T in 1960. It later became more common for home users when Dennis Hayes and Dale Heatherington released the 80-103A Modem in 1977.The Modem is a hardware device that enables a computer to send and receive information over telephone lines by converting the digital data used by your computer into an analog signal used on phone lines and then converting it back once received on the other end. In the picture below, is an example of an internal expansion card modem.
 Modems are referred to as an asynchronous device, meaning that the device transmits data in an intermittent stream of small packets. Once received, the receiving system then takes the data in the packets and reassembles it into a form the computer can use.

Types of Computer Modems

Below are the four versions of a computer Modem found in computers:
Onboard Modem is a Modem that is built onto the computer motherboard. These Modems cannot be removed, but can be disabled through a Jumper or CMOS Setup.
Internal Modem connects to a PCI slot inside a newer desktop computer or ISA slot on an older computer. The Internal Modem shown at the beginning of this document is an example of a PCI modem.
External computer modemExternal Modem is located within a box and is hooked up externally to the computer, usually the Serial Ports or USB port. The picture is an example of
an externalUSRobotics Modem.
Removable Modem that is used with olderlaptops PCMCIA slot and is removed when you need the PCMCIA slot for another device, but are not planning on using the modem.
A Modem or Broadband Modem is also used to refer to the hardware device that connects a computer or router to a broadband network. For example, a Cable Modem and DSL Modem are two examples of these types of Modems.

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