Simplified Information Technology

Rev. Fred Williams | 9/22/2010, 2:02 p.m.

Making the complicated simple! "And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakkuk 2:2 (KJV)"

Understanding information technology oftentimes may seem mind shattering. Accessing the Internet has progressed from using analog phone lines, to Satellite, Cable, Fiber and DSL. Most readers receive their television programming via satellite or local cable along with Internet access. Local Cable companies such as RCN, Cox and Verizon provide Internet access along with television programming.

Connecting to the Internet for the home user happens by one of two methods: Wired or Wireless. The cable provider supplies you with a modem that can be a stand alone modem, or one which is a wireless router with a (4) port hub.

A modem will give one device Internet access. To connect additional computers or web enabled devices like gaming systems as such as the Wii, Xbox 360 or the Play-station, Internet radio devices or Netfix enabled DVD players. You need an unmanaged Switch or a wireless router. A router redirects packets of information such as e-mail or web pages to the computer which requested the information.

It is similar to a traffic officer or a train switch operator, making sure the data get on the right track. A wireless router has the capability to send information using radio frequencies, from the modem, to a wireless transceiver. It also can send data over Cat-5 cable, which is slightly larger than a regular telephone line.

This year, there are new devices which can allow a limited number of devices/computers access to the Internet using the Mobile networks 3G and 4G. Devices such as the Sprint MiFi and the Clear Spot , each use the new 4G (4 Gigabit) network or the 3G (3 Gigabit), which allows for high speed Internet access within the wireless mobile network. This "Shared Access" capability is also available on certain smart cell phones like The Motorola Droid X smart phone. There is an additional cost associated with this service.

Unique to wireless access and these new devices is secured access to the Internet. To control access, the device uses a Security Key : a series of letters, and numbers unique to the device. When presented, this key allows the device access to the Internet. Devices such as the Sprint Mifi and the Clear Spot restricts the number of devices to eight (8.) Wireless routers can provide unlimited access to multiple devices. They also allow for additional keys, data encryption and security.

For the local church, temple or center of worship, Community tutoring project or for an apartment building, shared access means providing access to the under served for free, or at a shared cost. In these strict budget times, sharing access and knowledge can help build the bridges of self sufficiency, trust and community.

Connecting smart phones, laptops, net-books desktop computers and even televisions do more than give us access to the latest You tube most
watched video, they are tools which help to bring us closer, more connected.

Rev. Fred I. Williams is a telecommunications policy advocate, Baptist Minister and Social Entrepreneur. He has supported the work of such organizations as Urgent Africa, the Time Dollar Institute Peer to Peer Tutoring Project, The National Trust for the Development of African American Men, The National Caucus and Center on the Black Aged, National Caucus Black Civic Participation. He is currently a member, Board of Directors , African American Health Alliance.