Friday, February 12, 2010

Wireless Network

Wireless network refers to any type of computer network that is wireless, and is commonly associated with a telecommunications network whose interconnections between nodes are implemented without the use of wires. Wireless telecommunications networks are generally implemented with some type of remote information transmission system that uses electromagnetic waves, such as radio waves, for the carrier and this implementation usually takes place at the physical level or "layer" of the network.

Types of wireless connections

Wireless PAN
Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs) interconnect devices within a relatively small area, generally within reach of a person. For example, Bluetooth provides a WPAN for interconnecting a headset to a laptop. ZigBee also supports WPAN applications. Wi-Fi PANs are also getting popular as vendors have started integrating Wi-Fi in variety of consumer electronic devices. Intel My WiFi and Windows 7 virtual Wi-Fi capabilities have made Wi-Fi PANs simpler and easier to set up and configure.

Wireless LAN
A wireless local area network (WLAN) links two or more devices using a wireless distribution method (typically spread-spectrum or OFDM radio), and usually providing a connection through an access point to the wider internet. This gives users the mobility to move around within a local coverage area and still be connected to the network.

  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is increasingly used as a synonym for 802.11 WLANs, although it is technically a certification of interoperability between 802.11 devices.
  • Fixed Wireless Data: This implements point to point links between computers or networks at two locations, often using dedicated microwave or laser beams over line of sight paths. It is often used in cities to connect networks in two or more buildings without physically wiring the buildings together.

Wireless MAN
Wireless Metropolitan area networks are a type of wireless network that connects several Wireless LANs.
WiMAX is the term used to refer to wireless MANs and is covered in IEEE 802.16d/802.16e.

Wireless WAN
wireless wide area networks are wireless networks that typically cover large outdoor areas. These networks can be used to connect branch offices of business or as a public internet access system. They are usually deployed on the 2.4 GHz band. A typical system contains base station gateways, access points and wireless bridging relays. Other configurations are mesh systems where each access point acts as a relay also. When combined with renewable energy systems such as photo-voltaic solar panels or wind systems they can be stand alone systems.

Mobile devices networks
With the development of smart phones, cellular telephone networks routinely carry data in addition to telephone conversations:
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM): The GSM network is divided into three major systems: the switching system, the base station system, and the operation and support system. The cell phone connects to the base system station which then connects to the operation and support station; it then connects to the switching station where the call is transferred to where it needs to go. GSM is the most common standard and is used for a majority of cell phones.
Personal Communications Service (PCS): PCS is a radio band that can be used by mobile phones in North America and South Asia. Sprint happened to be the first service to set up a PCS.
D-AMPS: Digital Advanced Mobile Phone Service, an upgraded version of AMPS, is being phased out due to advancement in technology. The newer GSM networks are replacing the older system.

Wireless networks have continued to develop and their uses have grown significantly. Cellular phones are part of huge wireless network systems. People use these phones daily to communicate with one another. Sending information overseas is possible through wireless network systems using satellites and other signals to communicate across the world. Emergency services such as the police department utilize wireless networks to communicate important information quickly. People and businesses use wireless networks to send and share data quickly whether it be in a small office building or across the world.
Another important use for wireless networks is as an inexpensive and rapid way to be connected to the Internet in countries and regions where the telecom infrastructure is poor or there is a lack of resources, as in most developing countries.
Compatibility issues also arise when dealing with wireless networks. Different components not made by the same company may not work together, or might require extra work to fix these issues. Wireless networks are typically slower than those that are directly connected through an Ethernet cable.
A wireless network is more vulnerable, because anyone can try to break into a network broadcasting a signal. Many networks offer WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy - security systems which have been found to be vulnerable to intrusion. Though WEP does block some intruders, the security problems have caused some businesses to stick with wired networks until security can be improved. Another type of security for wireless networks is WPA - Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA provides more security to wireless networks than a WEP security set up. The use of firewalls will help with security breaches which can help to fix security problems in some wireless networks that are more vulnerable.