Wi-Fi Takes New Turn With "Wireless-G"

IEEE ratifies the 802.11g standard, offering three to five times the speed of 802.11b

3 min read

On 12 June, the IEEE Standards Association’s Standards Board formally ratified IEEE 802.11g, an amendment to the wildly popular local-area networking standard known as Wi-Fi. But details of the standard were largely settled last year, enough so that by last January, manufacturers like Linksys Group Inc. and D-Link Systems Inc., both in Irvine, Calif., jumped the gun and shipped to retail stores their home and small-office routers incorporating the standard [see photo, above]. Consumers, in turn, have for some months faced the choice of which 802.11 flavor is best.

Anyone walking the aisles of a computer store finds shelves stocked with a bewildering assortment of local networking products, labeled with an alphanumeric soup worthy of a government bureaucracy. IEEE 802.11g is an extension of 802.11b and competes with 802.11a, with which it shares many features. So one obvious question some consumers are asking themselves is whether, given that a has yet to take off in a big way, it will now be superseded by g. Does a still have a real mission?

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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