Introduction to Wireless Networking
Over the last few years, our planet has become more mobile. Our current lifestyle has made it difficult for the world’s traditional methods of networking to meet its challenges. Users can’t move if they don’t have physical connections to the network.
Wireless networking is not subject to such constraints and allows the user of the network to move more freely. Wireless technologies can also invade traditional “fixed” and “wired” networks. This is obvious to anyone who travels every day.
Wireless networking for voice telephony has created a whole new industry. Because callers can be connected to people, not computers, adding mobile access to telephony has had a profound impact on the voice calling market. We are witnessing a similar shift in computer networking.
We will discuss the following in this article:
Definition of wireless networking
How wireless networks work.
There are many types of wireless networks.
Standards for wireless networking
Wireless networking has many benefits.
A quick look at networking
A computer network is a collection of devices such as printers, fax machines, and computers that are connected to one another to share information and communicate. It uses transmission media like wires and cables. Local Area Networks (LAN) are a way for computers to be interconnected within a narrow area, such as an office, using communication cables.
What is wireless networking?
Wireless networks allow devices to be connected to the network but can also roam freely without cables. Access points amplify Wi-Fi signals, so a computer can be located far away from a router and still be connected to the network. When you connect to a Wi Fi hotspot in a café or other public place, your computer will be connected to the organization’s wireless network.
Wireless and wired networks are different in that wired networks use cables to connect devices to the Internet, or to another network such as desktop computers or laptops. A wired network is more expensive than a wireless one. A router is connected to your computer. This is the main problem. Most wired networks are made up of cables that connect to the Ethernet port on the router and to the other end of a computer or another system.
Why go wireless?
However, this is a point where it’s a bit premature to start digging into a specific technology. No matter how protocols are constructed or what type of information they carry, wireless networks offer significant benefits.
Wireless networking has the greatest benefit of all: mobility. Users of wireless networks can connect to existing networks, allowing them to travel free. A single mobile phone call can take a user miles as the phone connects to cell towers.
How wireless networks work
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), serves the same purpose as a wired network to connect multiple computers. Wireless is usually simpler and quicker to set up than wired networks.
It can, however, be costly and labor-intensive to drag wires across walls and ceilings of offices. Even if you already have a wired network, a wireless network is a cost-effective and efficient way to expand or increase it.
Types of wireless networks
Now that we know the basics of wireless networks, let’s turn our attention to specific types of wireless.
Wireless Local Area Networks, (WLAN),
WLAN is a type of network that connects two or more computers using a wireless distribution system. They use high-frequency radio waves as well as an AP (access point) to the internet.
These are very useful because they allow users to roam the coverage area and not be restricted to one location. They are also known by the Local Area Wireless Network (LAWN).
Wireless Wide Area Networks, (WWAN)
WWAN, also known as wireless broadband or cell towers, is a form of wireless internet. The towers transmit radio signals that can travel thousands of miles. WLAN only works for a few hundred yards. It consists of three main technologies: Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Code Division Multiple Access(CDMA) and the more recent WiMAX.
These technologies are beyond the scope this article. However, you can find more resources here and here. It is important to remember that Wide Area Networks don’t connect to individual computers, but rather to multiple Local Area networks.
Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks, (WMAN),
MWAN covers an area approximately the same size as a city. Although it is smaller than WWAN, it is still larger than WLAN. It is owned by a single entity, such as the government, Internet Service Providers, or cooperation. MWAN limits access to only authorized users and subscriber devices. WMAN could be described as *WiMAX.
Wireless networking has many benefits
It has made VoIP (voice over internet) much more accessible as calls can be made over it.
It has allowed mobility, which is a greater advantage for its users. Servers can be accessed from anywhere provided Access Point access is available.
They are much more affordable than wired networks which can be expensive to purchase cables.
Data encryption and the use of current technologies can make your network secure. This allows for the sharing of sensitive data.