Wireless Computing
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Introduction to Wireless

Wireless Technologies

Interference

Network Security

Glossary

Bibliography


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Introduction to Wireless

Introduction to Wireless - Frequency - Wireless Standards

Networks are everywhere in today's world. Nearly every computer connects to some type of network, whether it is a direct link to the Internet or a local LAN composed of many different devices. In any case, communication is the key. The foundation of any network is some sort of pathway for digital data (bits) to move back and forth between connected agents. Cables, ranging from coaxial to optical, have long dominated this realm. However, radio - the so-called wireless solution - is increasingly emerging as a viable alternative to direct physical connection.

Wireless has several advantages over traditional physically connected networks. Most visibly, it helps to reduce chaos caused by tangled cables. More importantly, wireless seeks to address two issues that are becoming increasingly critical: portability and mobility. Portability refers to the ability to easily move from one fixed location to another. Many workers with laptops, for example, will want to carry their computers from home to work and back again every day. Even within the workplace, I might want to carry my laptop from my desk into a meeting room. Wireless has the potential to make this easy, eliminating the need for pre-planned jacks and extra cables. Mobility is the concept of being able to maintain a connection even while on the move. Can I access my email while on the bus, or while walking down the street?

No technology is perfect, though. Despite rapid improvement over the last several years, wireless still has lower transfer rates than even low-end cable connections. There is the risk of increased interference, both from background noise and from competing wireless broadcasts; while signals can collide on cable networks, it is much easier to regulate traffic in order to prevent problems. Security is also an issue, as anyone within range of a wireless network can record all its traffic without warning.

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