1.4 Wireless Networking

1.4 Wireless Networking

Since its introduction wireless networking has been regarded as a lesser form than that of the tried and tested cable based networks. This reputation, to some extent, has been earned, in that wireless networks were problematic with no real standards, slow speeds and concerns about security.

Wireless networks have become more popular due to the:

  • Falling price of wireless equipment
  • Creation of standards
  • Interoperability of equipment
  • Increased security

Although a completely wireless network is possible, it is rare. Most organisations chose the wireless option to supplement and add flexibility to their existing cable networks.

Therefore most modern networks are a hybrid of traditional cable based technology and new wireless options.

Wireless Network Capabilities

Wireless networks are becoming more popular because they offer the following advantages over cabled systems:

  • Provide temporary connections to an existing cabled network
  • Help provide backup to an existing network
  • Provide some degree of portability
  • Extend networks beyond the limits of physical connectivity

Uses for Wireless Connectivity

One key factor that had led to the use of wireless networks is the inherent difficulties of setting up cabled networks. Wireless networks could be the preferred solution in the following situations:

  • Listed buildings where cabling is not permitted.
  • Isolated areas and buildings where it is not economic to cable or to permit network access in any other way.
  • Users who cannot stay in one location to access the network but who have to carry their work out on the move.

Wireless networks can be divided into three categories based on their technology. These are:

  • WLANs
  • Extended LANs
  • Mobile computing

Wireless LANs and extended LANs use transmitters and receivers owned by the company in which the network operates, whereas mobile computing uses public carriers, such as long distance telephone companies, along with local telephone companies and their public services.