ADSL Nation Technology Guides
Introduction to Wireless Networking
This article provides an introduction to wireless networking.
Wireless networking enables you to take your laptop anywhere
in your home or office while remaining connected to the internet and
sharing files with other computers. Not only does wireless technology
with laptop computers but equally useful for your desktop computers,
put them wherever you like without the hassle of running Ethernet
cables through walls, floors, & ceilings.
is one of the most popular networking technologies, and is fast replacing
the standard wired configuration
in many workplace and home networking environments. The benefits are
obvious, specifications, performance and security features have
over time, and current
LAN setups rival their wired counterparts in all these areas.
Types of wireless
One of the first considerations when selecting wireless equipment is
to ensure that it will all work together. Over the years since the introduction
of wireless technology there have been a wide range of different technologies
used, some proprietary and others conforming to industry standards. Modern
wireless equipment all confirms to one of the major official standards
so unless it is absolutely clear that it meets the required standard
old equipment sold second hand is probably best avoided if compatibility
is to be assured.
The two most common wireless technologies
available today broadly speaking fall in to two categories. Bluetooth
and IEEE 802.11
(WiFi). Although both are wireless technologies they have very different
is a short range, low speed communication system that offers portable
Primarily used for connecting
computers and portable handheld devices, it is also sometimes
used to link printers, cameras and mobile phones together. Probably the
most popular use for Bluetooth is wireless headsets for mobile
phones, wireless keyboards and mice. Bluetooth is extremely power efficient
making it popular for small battery powered devices where battery
life is one of the most important feature. The bluetooth wireless
is relatively slow at 723kbps and therefore is not best suited
to wireless networking applications.
Wireless Ethernet, or Wi-Fi, technology has become the industry standard
wireless networking technology since the debut of IEEE 802.11b, which
set the standard for wireless LANs. IEEE 802.11b operates on the same
frequency range as Bluetooth and HomeRF, but has greater range and data
transmission rates, and includes the requisite security features for
true networking. Since the introduction of the the 802.11b standard
there have been two improved standards, the inexplicably-named
IEEE 802.11a that increased the speed of wireless networking (at
cost of backwards
IEEE 802.11g the most recent step forward for wireless LAN technology
with full backwards compatibility with the b standard.