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Summer 2005 Informer Articles

Laptops and Wireless Internet Access
E-mail Spam - Why you receive messages that aren't addressed to you

Laptops and Wireless Internet Access

If you recently bought a laptop, you may have noticed that it probably advertises "wireless capability". You may have also noticed wireless access cards and routers sold in computer stores and online. It makes sense to ask, "If I already have wireless capability on my computer, do I need to buy separate equipment to connect to Info Link Wireless?"

The answer is that the wireless Internet connection used by Info Link Wireless and the wireless compatibility built into your computer are two very different things. Info Link Wireless allows people to connect to the Internet using what is sometimes called WiMax technology. It is a system set up to allow long distance communication without wires. Because of the distances involved, special equipment is required to receive and send the signal. This means that for you to get connected to any WiMax high speed provider, including Info Link Wireless, you need to have an antenna and radio that is compatible with the central tower, and that is powerful enough to send information to the tower from several miles away.

The wireless capability that is built into most laptops (and that can be added to most computers) is a separate technology sometimes called WiFi. WiFi comes in a couple of different varieties, the most common of which is called 802.11b/g. WiFi equipment is designed to allow computers that are relatively close to one another to communicate with each other. It is designed to work over short distances, not more than 100 feet or so, depending on interference (walls, trees, walls, etc.). Because it is such a short range technology, Info Link cannot use WiFi equipment to allow people to connect to the Internet. We would have to put antennas every hundred feet!

Since Info Link Wireless uses a completely different technology from WiFi, even if you are very close to the tower, you will not be able to use your built in wireless equipment to connect to our service. WiMax and WiFi simply don't work with each other. However, because Info Link Wireless uses such powerful equipment, you can get a signal with the appropriate equipment several miles out, into rural areas where DSL and cable cannot reach. You can view our wireless coverage maps to see if you can get service. Call us to schedule a free, no obligation site survey today!

E-mail Spam - Why you receive messages that aren't addressed to you

One problem with modern e-mail is the advent of spam. Spam is any e-mail that is sent to many different e-mail addresses that tries to get you to by something, or visit a web page. They are sent out to increase traffic on web sites, to boost sales of products, or simply as the result of a virus, ad-ware or spy-ware. The strange thing about them is, they often aren't even addressed to you. How is this possible?

Spammers can send you e-mail that is addressed to someone else because of something called Blind Carbon Copy, or BCC. The spammer simply sends out an e-mail to one address, and then adds every other recipient of the e-mail to the blind carbon copy field. This field allows the spammer to send messages to many people simultaneously without all of their e-mail addresses showing up on the e-mail when they receive it (or anyone else for that matter). So, if the spammer sends something to Joe@fake.com, and puts James@fake.com and Judy@fake.com in the BCC field, Joe, James, and Judy will only see Joe's address.

The spammer can further confuse things by putting a fake address in the To field, or by simply leaving the To field empty. That way, even the address that it looks like the e-mail was originally addressed to isn't a real address.

To cover their tracks even further, spammers often put a fake address in the Reply To field. This means that when you click on the Reply button in your e-mail client (such as Outlook Express), the e-mail you send will go to their fake address, and not the real one from which they sent it. Even if you send them a reply saying that you don't want to receive their e-mail any longer, they simply won't get it.

There are a couple of ways to combat spam. One is by being careful with your e-mail address. Free drawings online, e-card sites, and other free online services are often used by companies to find and sell legitimate e-mail addresses. Try to avoid using these services. Only give out your e-mail address to your friends, and encourage them not to send you e-cards. If you are already on a spammer's list and would like to decrease the amount of spam you receive, Info Link offers a spam filtering service for $1.99 per month. It is highly customizable, can be set to delete your spam or simply move it into separate spam folder, and you can even add a service that learns what e-mail is spam and what is not as well. Call Info Link if you would like a filter set up on your e-mail today or sign up online now!

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