Wireless Networking

October 6th, 2006 by Charles Edge

Wireless networks use high frequency radio signals to connect computers to each other and to shared-resources for the transmission of data such as files, images or connection to the internet. This type of network is known as a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).
Wireless networks offer most of the same ability as a traditional wired LAN. If your wired network has the ability to access the Internet today, then your wireless LAN will be able to as well.
A wireless LAN typically consists of two components; a wireless network card and an access point. The access point serves as an aggregate point for all wireless LAN communications within it’s range.
The access point connects to a traditional wired LAN to provide access to existing applications and services. Each computer with a wireless network card can roam about freely within the range of the access point and have connectivity to other wired and wireless resources through the access-point.
In larger environments multiple access points are deployed to provide greater coverage throughout a floor or entire building. This gives complete mobility for any number of devices. In this situation connectivity is maintained uninterrupted from one access point to another. This is referred to as roaming and is analogous to cellular phone service we use today.
Using technology based on the 802.11a, 802.11b, or 802.11g industry standards, we can design your network to support data rates from 11 Mbps to 54 Mbps with maximum throughput.
An access point when paired with a wireless network card provides wireless network communications. It’s closest equivalent in the wired LAN is a hub or switch.
Although access points typically transmit signal from 100 meters to 300 meters, when combined with advanced antenna designs we can implement your network to support ranges as far out as ½ mile (or greater). Conditions like the composition of walls, antenna placement and other variables play a role in this effective distance.
Ad hoc is a mode of operation which allows computers to communicate wirelessly amongst themselves without an access point.
It’s generally recommended to always have an access point when more than two computers need to communicate to each other wireless or when connectivity to a wired LAN is required.
This varies significantly from one manufactures’ access point to another but a practical estimate is 15 to 20 users per access point.
Three18 delivers solutions based on the 802.11b, 802.11a, or 802.11g standards. This technology is not only cost effective but also provides excellent performance. The definitions for these standards are as follows:
802.11b
IEEE 802.11b is a technical specification issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) that defines the operation of 2.4 GHz, 11 Mbps, Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). The 802.11b standard ensures that all wireless Ethernet products built to this standard are compatible.
802.11g
IEEE 802.11g is a technical specification issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) that defines the operation of 2.4 GHz, 54 Mbps, Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). The 802.11g standard ensures that all wireless Ethernet products built to this standard are compatible and backwards compatible with 802.11b.
802.11a
IEEE 802.11a is a technical specification issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) that defines the operation of 5 GHz, 53 Mbps, Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). The 802.11g standard ensures that all wireless Ethernet products built to this standard are compatible and will co-exists with other wireless specifications.
Solutions deployed by Three18 integrate the highest levels of security for protecting student grades, test scores, attendance records, or sensitive administrative files. In addition to the standard wireless security options such as 128-bit data encryption and MAC address filtering, our solutions include National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certified wireless security techniques that are currently being used by the Department of Defense wireless networks.
This varies from one manufacture to the other but in general you can expect that all major operation systems are supported (i.e. Microsoft Windows 98, ME, 2000 Professional & Server, Mac OS, Linux, etc.)
It is possible today to build an entire network based on wireless technology. But in most cases an environment will have an existing wired LAN that they will wish to extend via wireless to leverage some of it’s advantages. Over time there should be a shift to more exclusively wireless LANs.
802.11a /802.11g are IEEE standards for faster and more capable wireless LANs. The answer to this question depends on the applications that you want to run over the network and whether there is an existing 802.11b network in place. Applications that require higher data rates such as video streaming would operate more efficiently on 802.11a and 802.11g networks. If you have an existing 802.11b network in place there are interoperability issues that must be considered.
For 802.11g networks, there are no limitations with existing networks since both operate on the same 2.4 GHz radio frequency. This is the main advantage of using 802.11g.
Since 802.11a networks transmit signals over a 5 GHz frequency, 802.11b clients will not communicate with 802.11a access points and vice versa. The good news is that the technology providers have begun offering “dual band client cards” so that end-users can roam between the different network implementations.
Bluetooth is a 1 Mbps technology designed for low cost and low power to connect personal devices such as cell phones, PDA’s, notebooks and other personal devices. 802.11b is a full LAN connectivity solution, designed to provide full network services at Ethernet data rates. 802.11b and Bluetooth both operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency range using different types of spread spectrum technology.
The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECCA) was established in 1999 to certify interoperability of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) products and to promote Wi-Fi as the global wireless LAN standard across all market segments.
Wi-Fi is an certification for 802.11b devices. All current product offerings are certified by WECA for Wi-Fi compliance in order to insure seamless interoperability with other manufacturers products.

A wireless network provides fast and flexible access to centralized content for applications particular to their environments. With this technology, organizations can establish network connectivity anywhere within the designed coverage area including conference rooms, offices, outdoor structures, and difficult to reach locations. Organizations can achieve gains in productivity by utilizing mobilized computers for real time applications such as data entry, inventory control, attendance, and etc. A wireless network infrastructure can also offer cost advantages over traditional wired systems through the elimination of the need to run expensive conduits and cable.

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One Response to “Wireless Networking”

  1. Hi there…Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts ! it was a great Friday