An Overview of Wireless Local Area Network Technology

Wireless Local Area NetworkA WLAN provides wireless connectivity over short to long distances with radio waves rather than traditional electrical network cabling. A WLAN extends already existing wired local area networks (LAN) to computers not attached to the LAN directly. The term ‘wireless’ denotes that the system does not require any wires connecting the computers or devices to the network. It uses radio signals for this purpose.

There are four main types of wireless local area networks: single-mode, multimode, bridged, and a packet switch. Each has its pros and cons and can be used for various applications. In single-mode networks, the primary (and least important) mode of connectivity is fixed and the secondary mode covers either one or two modes. Bridged and packet switch networks combine the features of both single and dual-mode networks. The fourth network type offers faster connectivity and provides more efficient power consumption.

An example of a single-mode network involves a laptop computer or a computer in its mobility mode being able to connect to other computers in its home network. Such a situation can be achieved by a wired connection between the laptop and other wireless devices within the home. These devices can be laptops, notebook PCs, cell phones, wireless internet access points (wifi ids), cordless phones, and other wireless local area network devices. Such a scenario would allow the laptop to stay connected to other wireless devices in its home network even when the laptop is moved between locations.

On the other hand, in a multimode arrangement, there are two or more computers that can be securely connected. The most commonly used example is a two-way wireless connection between the laptop and one or more desktops in a home or an office. In this case, the desktop acts as a primary gateway and the laptop is connected …