Company Products Support Shop on-line


Inside Microfilters
Types of Cable
Extension Wiring
Wireless Networking

  How To Guides  
Firmware Updates



ADSL Nation Technology Guides
Introduction to Wireless Networking


Types of Wireless


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 provide portability 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.

Wireless networking 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 improved over time, and current wireless 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 purposes.

Bluetooth is a short range, low speed communication system that offers portable convenience. 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 standard 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 the cost of backwards compatibility), and IEEE 802.11g the most recent step forward for wireless LAN technology with full backwards compatibility with the b standard.