For most people, wireless networking means connecting to the Internet or to other computers without the bother of an Ethernet wire tethering your computer to a wall jack. As you'll see later in this book, there's a lot more to wireless technology than just Internet access, but in this and the next three chapters we'll cover Wi-Fi, the technology that you'll use most of the time to wirelessly connect your computer to other computers and to the Internet. Apple has branded its Wi-Fi hardware and software with the name AirPort (for 802.11b) and AirPort Extreme (for 802.11g).
Wi-Fi allows convenient wireless network access, which is equally useful at work, educational institutions, and in the home. At work, people can use their notebook computers anywhere in the office and still have access to all of the network services, including file servers, printers, and (of course) the Internet. In schools, students with notebook computers can move from classroom to classroom and remain connected. Home users have the freedom to move around and be connected anywhere in the house, without dealing with the cost and hassle of running wires through the walls.