A+: Other popular protocols
Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a short-range low-speed wireless network primarily designed to operate in peer-to-peer mode (known as ad-hoc) between PCs and other devices such as printers, projectors, smart phones, mice, keyboards, and other devices. Bluetooth runs in the same 2.4GHz frequency used by IEEE 802.11b, g, and n wireless networks, but uses a spread-spectrum frequency-hopping signaling method to help minimize interference. Bluetooth devices connect to each other to form a personal area network (PAN).
Some systems and devices include integrated Bluetooth adapters, and others need a Bluetooth module connected to the USB port to enable Bluetooth networking.
Infrared: Infrared is a short-range, low-speed, line-of-sight network method that can be used to connect to other PCs, PDAs, or Internet kiosks. Infrared networking is based on the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) protocol. Some laptops include an integrated IrDA port. IrDA can also be used for printing to printers that include an IrDA port or are connected to an IrDA adapter.
If you want to use a computer that does not have IrDA support with infrared networking, you can add an IrDA adapter. Many desktop motherboards include integrated IrDA support. To enable IrDA support, connect a header cable (available from various third-party sources) to the IrDA port and configure the system BIOS to provide IrDA support. On many systems with integrated IrDA support, one of the COM ports can be switched between its normal mode and IrDA support.
To add IrDA support to computers that don’t include an IrDA port, use a third-party IrDA module that connects to the USB port.
Cellular: Digital cellular phone networks can be used for Internet access and remote networking, a feature that is extremely useful to mobile workers. To enable a laptop to use a cellular network for data access, you need to connect a cellular modem to your PC and purchase the appropriate data access plan from a wireless carrier. Cellular modems can be connected to USB ports or installed into CardBus or ExpressCard slots. They can be purchased separately or as a bundle with a data access plan. If you purchase a cellular modem separately, make sure it supports the data access method used by your wireless carrier.
VoIP: Voice over IP (VoIP) is an increasingly popular method for providing home and business telephone access. VoIP routes telephone calls over the same TCP/IP network used for LAN and Internet access. Companies such as Vonage, Skype, AT&T, Verizon, and others provide VoIP services.
To add VoIP service to an existing Ethernet network, you can use either an analog telephone adapter (ATA) or a VoIP router. An ATA enables you to adapt standard telephones to work with VoIP services. It plugs into your existing router. A VoIP router can be used as a replacement for an existing wired or wireless router. Typical VoIP routers support most or all of the following features:
• Quality of Service (QoS) support— This feature prioritizes streaming media such as VoIP phone calls and audio or video playback over other types of network traffic.
• One or more FXO ports— An FXO port enables standard analog telephones to be used in VoIP service.
• Real-time Transport Protocol/Real-time Transport Control Protocol (RTP/RTCP)— Supports streaming media, video conferencing, and VoIP applications.
• Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) support— A widely used VoIP signaling protocol also used for multimedia distribution and multimedia conferences.