Friday, January 20, 2012
The term wireless networking refers to technology that enables two or more computers to communicate using standard network protocols, but without network cabling. The computers connect to the network using radio signals.
The articles in this section give an overview on how wireless networking functions, the different types of wireless networks available, and the new technologies being developed in the field.
How do wireless networks work?
Wireless data is predominately transferred over two kinds of networks: wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). These networks are similar to their wired counterparts, but they just use radio waves instead of copper or fiber.
WANs can cover areas as large as several countries. AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Sprint and Verizon and are among the carriers that use wireless WANs.
Wireless LANs (WLANs), already popular in airports, coffee shops and hotels, are often used to replace or enhance wired LANs. WLANs can cover 1.25 miles indoors and up to 4.35 miles outdoors in extreme cases, but work best in the 500-foot range. They may service a smaller area than their WAN cousins, but LANs can transfer data much faster, with speeds of 54Mbps now possible. Many companies are switching to WLANs for voice over IP.