Chapter 1. Introduction to Wireless Computing

Welcome to Mac OS X Unwired! If you're reading this book, you've probably heard a lot about wireless networking, but want to know more about what it means and how it can make your life easier. Or maybe you've dipped your toe into the wireless world and are a bit confused by all the different terms you've heard: 802.11b, 802.11g, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IR, RF, etc. Or maybe you understand the buzzwords and want to go wireless, but need to make sure that you're buying the right hardware for your particular situation (and setting up that hardware and the accompanying software in the best way). If any of these descriptions apply to you, you've come to the right place.

One of the best things about Mac OS X is that it supports many different wireless technologies, each with its own unique advantages. From connecting to the Internet in airports and other public places, to working with a cell phone, to connecting to printers without wires, Mac OS X lets you do it all without the annoyance of a difficult and tweaky setup.

In this chapter, you'll get a bit of background on the technology behind wireless networks, see a few examples of how you can benefit from wireless networking, get an overview of the wireless alternatives for home and office, and look at some of the software that can help you get more out of your wireless experience.