what are the different wireless network technologies available?

Published: 29th October 2008
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A computer with a properly installed wireless network adapter can communicate with another similarly configured computer or other wireless device, such as a printer with a wireless print adapter. Basically there are 3 main types of wireless technology that differ in their functionality:

- Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

In a Wireless Local Area Network, a radio communications device labeled as a wireless router that supplies Internet access to computers over air waves. The wireless router is small and lightweight with an antenna attached to it that sends information back and forth to wireless enabled computers. The range of a WLAN can is around 150 to 300 feet depending on the physical environment. Wireless LANs are becoming commonplace in public-access facilities. Locations called hotspots provide wireless routers which can commune with the wireless network card in your portable computer
or handheld device.

To access a wireless LAN at a public place, you might need an account with the provider of the wireless service. Some additional access charges apply in some locations. The range and speed of public-access hotspots will vary according to environmental and other factors.

Here are the components needed for a wireless network:

- Broadband Internet connection (cable or DSL service)
- Broadband Modem
- Wireless Router
- Wireless-Enabled Desktop
- Wireless-Enabled Notebook

- Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN)
Wireless personal area networks are restricted wireless networks. BluetoothTM and UltraWideBand are the most frequently used types WPAN technologies that wirelessly connect MP3 players, Bluetooth keywords and mice, cellular phones, and more to a computer. A WPAN has a maximum range of about 30 feet. Bluetooth technology is the most popular WPAN networking standard. WPAN devices cannot communicate with WLAN or WWAN devices. The use of WPAN can reduce the number of wires and cords in a work area.

- Mobile Broadband or Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN)
Wireless Wide Area Networking or Mobile Broadband is achieved through the use of cellular phone signals. Mobile Broadband Networks are typically provided and retained by specific mobile phone (cellular) service providers. Mobile Broadband can provide a way to stay connected even when away from other forms of network access. Connectivity to some wireless Wide Area Networks can be maintained anywhere there is cellular phone service available from the provider.
Additional access charges apply in some locations.

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