Wireless networks are computer networks that are not connected by cables of any kind. The use of a wireless network enables enterprises to avoid the costly process of introducing cables into buildings or as a connection between different equipment locations. The basis of wireless systems is radio waves, an implementation that takes place at the physical level of network structure.
Wireless networks use radio waves to connect devices such as laptops to the Internet, the business network and applications. When laptops are connected to Wi-Fi hot spots in public places, the connection is established to that business’s wireless network.
There are four main types of wireless networks:
- Wireless Local Area Network (LAN): Links two or more devices using a wireless distribution method, providing a connection through access points to the wider Internet.
- Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN): Connects several wireless LANs.
- Wireless Wide Area Network (WAN): Covers large areas such as neighbouring towns and cities.
- Wireless Personal Area Network (PAN): Interconnects devices in a short span, generally within a person’s reach.
The Benefits of Wireless Networking are
- Access your network resources from any location within your wireless network’s coverage area or from any WiFi hotspot.
- You’re no longer tied to your desk, as you were with a wired connection.
- Wireless access to the Internet and to your company’s key applications and resources helps your staff get the job done and encourages collaboration.
- You don’t have to string cables, so installation can be quick and cost-effective.
- You can easily expand wireless networks with existing equipment, while a wired network might require additional wiring.
- Advances in wireless networks provide robust security protections.
- Because wireless networks eliminate or reduce wiring costs, they can cost less to operate than wired networks.
Types of Wireless Network Technologies
A large number of technologies have been developed to support wireless networking in different usages. Mainstream wireless technologies include:
- Wi-Fi, especially popular in-home networks and as a wireless hotspot technology.
- Bluetooth, for low power and embedded applications.
- 3G and 4G cellular Internet
- Wireless home automation standards like ZigBee and Z-Wave
- Other technologies still under development but likely to play a role in wireless networks of the future include 5G cellular Internet and Li-Fi visible light communication.