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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick Tech Tip: Wireless Networks

The wireless communication revolution is bringing fundamental changes to data networking, telecommunication, and is making integrated networks a reality. By freeing the user from the cord, new systems (personal communications networks, wireless LAN's, mobile radio networks and cellular systems, etc), harbor the promise of fully distributed mobile computing and communications, in a new paradigm of any time, anywhere.
A wireless network allows you to connect your computer to a network using radio waves instead of wires. As long as you are within range of a wireless access point, you can move your computer from place to place while maintaining un-ethered access to networked resources. This can make networking extremely portable.
Wireless networks are of great value to fleets of trucks, taxis, buses and repair persons for keeping in contact with home. Another use is for rescue workers at disaster sites where the telephone system has been destroyed such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wireless networks are very important to the military.
Some wireless data networks run over wireless voice networks, such as mobile telephone networks (CPDP, HSCSD, PDC-P, and GPRS are examples). Other wireless networks run on their own physical layer networks, utilizing anything from antennas built into handlheld devices to large antennas mounted on towers. 802.11, LMDS, and MMDS are examples.
A few wireless networks are intended only to connect small devices over short distances. Bluetooth is an example.
Wireless LANs are networks are set up to provide wireless connectivity within a finite coverage area. Typical coverage areas might be a hospital (for patient care systems), a university, the airport, or a gas plant. They usually have a well-known audience in mind.
Wireless Personal Area Networking (WPAN) describes an application of wireless technology that is intended to address usage scenarios that are inherently personal in nature. The emphasis is on instant connectivity between devices that manage personal data or which facilitate data sharing between small groups of individuals.

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