What Is a Computer Anyway?
Hardware innovations are coming so rapidly that soon it might be difficult to tell what is a computer and what is a bread maker or a light switch. Cell phones, home appliances, televisions, and automobiles will all participate in these wireless device networks. You will be able to communicate with the devices in your house through a palm pilot, cell phone, or wristwatch.
Although some believe this wireless age is a gimmick, others predict these wireless technologies will propel the modern home into an age of science fiction. You have probably heard the scenarios: You will be able to turn on the water in your bathtub while you're heading home on the freeway. Your personal assistant will synchronize its calendar with the coffee maker. Your doorbell will beep your pager when you travel out of state.
Whatever the effect on daily life, it is clear that these technologies will almost certainly have an effect on the local area network (LAN). Although wireless connectivity has been available for several years, the wireless LAN was considered an exception intended for special situations. The new wireless standards will make it easier for vendors to gamble on expanding their wireless product lines. Already, wireless network cards are becoming more plentiful and less expensive. In a few years, it is possible that computers, printers, fax machines, and storage devices (at least on small networks) will all communicate without cabling. But a wireless network is still a network, and in this world of talking toasters, you'll still find TCP/IP.