Wireless Networking Explained


SPECTRUM - Microwave Laser & Infrared  
Any wired network can be made wireless so long as a path can be found for the signal Usually low power microwave radio waves or laser ( infra red for very short distances and are usually only used indoors)
Laser links do require direct line of sight (LOS) If this is not possible then it may be possible to achieve a link by adding a node to the network which bypasses the obstruction e.g. hill or building Laser links can also be effected by severe weather conditions
Microwave links operate best under (LOS) conditions but benefit from the fact that radio waves spread out and can also be reflected For this reason Microwave links are the most common type
ROAMING - Wireless on the move  
A wireless computer can "roam" from one access point to another, with the software and hardware maintaining a steady network connection by monitoring the signal strength from in-range access points and locking on to the one with the best quality. Usually this is completely transparent to the user; they are not aware that a different access point is being used from area to area. Some access point configurations require security authentication when swapping access points, usually in the form of a password dialog box. This allows the user to stay connected over a wide area eg Outdoor conference , Office Carpark or Wireless Hotspot

Wireless networking hardware requires the use of underlying technology that deals with radio frequencies as well as data transmission. The most widely used standard is 802.11 produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). This is a standard defining all aspects of Radio Frequency Wireless networking.

802.11 wireless communications have a function called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), a form of encryption which provides privacy comparable to that of a traditional wired network. If the wireless network has information that should be secure then WEP should be used, ensuring the data is protected at traditional wired network levels. Additional layers of security can be applied to wireless networks in the same way as wired networks Multi layered encryption and IDS Intrusion Detection Systems.