Books are great. They can keep you occupied when you're waiting for your electrician to arrive (see , inform you when you're wondering about the culture of China, and relax you after a stressful day at work. Increasingly, many people are turning to laptop computers and e-book readers as their main source of reading material, downloading their e-books over their wi-fi connections. Wi-fi is easy and convenient, but do you really know how it works and how to stay safe while using it? We can help.

Wi fi, which stands for wireless fidelity, is a method of communication without actual connections that two electronic devices use - usually an internet router and a computer, tablet, or e-book reader. By using electromagnetic waves which are similar to but a much higher frequency than radio waves, the two devices can communicate from different rooms in the same office space as long as they are transmitting and receiving on the same bandwidth. Wi-fi bandwidths are designated by letters, such as B, G, and N.

Most new computers are able to communicate on any bandwidth and have their wireless cards incorporated into their design. Most internet companies also combine their modems with wireless routers to give their customers automatic wireless. However if you have an older computer, or an older modem, you may have to buy additional hardware to set up a wireless network in your home. Old modems need to be connected to routers and old computers need wireless cards working on the same bandwidth.

People tend to assume that their wireless network is for their use only and does not extend past the walls of their house, but in fact wireless signals can extend out over your whole block. It's important that you password protect your network to keep people like a local dentist from getting free internet at your expense. Many networks in public places such as shopping malls, airports, libraries, or cafes are kept purposely unprotected so that anyone can use them while they are using the facilities.

Be careful what information you send over an unsecured wireless network, because it's possible for people to intercept and copy or steal the information if it's not protected. Therefore when you're doing the books for your catering in Toronto, Ontario, do not do so on your iPad using the public wireless at your hotel. Instead, plug into an Ethernet cable or find a secured network on which to conduct your sensitive business. Sensitive information doesn't just include credit card or bank account numbers, either. It also includes your birthday, address, phone number, and social security number, any of which can be used to steal your identity.

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