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It is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and enterprise business installations avoid the process of introducing cables which is costly, as a connection between various equipment locations or into a building. Generally wireless telecommunications networks are implemented and administered using radio communication. This takes place at the physical level (layer) of the OSI model network structure.
Types of wireless access networks
Wireless personal area networks (WPANs) interconnect devices within a small area, that is generally within a reach of person. For example, both invisible infrared light and Bluetooth radio for interconnecting a headset to a laptop provides a WPAN. WPAN applications are also supported by ZigBee. Wi-Fi PANs are becoming commonplace (2010) as equipment designers start to integrate Wi-Fi into a variety of consumer electronic devices. Intel "My WiFi" and Windows 7 "virtual Wi-Fi" capabilities have made Wi-Fi PANs simpler and easier to set up and configure.
A wireless local area network (WLAN) links two or more devices using a wireless distribution method over a short distance, usually providing a connection for Internet access through an access point. The use of OFDM technologies or spread-spectrum may allow users to move around within a coverage area which is local, and still remain connected to the network.
Products using the IEEE 802.11 WLAN standards are marketed under the brand name Wi-Fi. Fixed wireless technology implements point-to-point links between computers or networks at two distant locations, using dedicated microwave or modulated laser light beams over line of sight paths. This is often used in cities to connect networks in two or more buildings without installing a wired link.
Wireless mesh network
A wireless mesh network is a wireless network made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. On behalf of the other nodes each node forwards messages. Mesh networks can "self heal", automatically re-routing around a node that has lost power.
It is a type of wireless network that connects several wireless LANs.
WiMAX is a type of Wireless MAN and is described by the IEEE standard 802.16.
Wireless wide area networks are wireless networks that typically cover large areas, that are between neighboring towns and cities or suburb and city. These networks can be used to connect branch offices of business or as a public internet access system. Wireless connections between access points are usually point to point microwave links using parabolic dishes on the band of 2.4ÂÂ GHz, rather than omnidirectional antennas used with smaller networks. Typical system contains base station gateways, wireless bridging relays and access points. Other configurations are mesh systems where each access point also acts as a relay. When combined with renewable energy systems such as photo-voltaic solar panels or wind systems they can be stand alone systems.
A cellular network or mobile network is a radio network distributed over land areas called cells, served by at least one fixed-location transceiver, which is known as a base station or cell site. In a cellular network, each cell characteristically uses a different set of radio frequencies from all their immediate neighbouring cells to avoid any interference.
These cells provide radio coverage over a wide geographic area when joined together. This enables a large number of portable transceivers (e.g., mobile phones, pagers, etc.) for communicate with each other and with fixed transceivers and telephones in the network anywhere, via base stations even if some of the transceivers are moving through more than one cell during transmission.
Although originally intended for cell phones with the development of smart phones, telephone networks routinely carry data in addition to telephone conversations:
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM): The GSM network is divided into three major systems: the base station system, the switching system and support system and the operation. The cell phone connects to the base system station which then connects to the operation and support station; it then connects to the switching station where the call is transferred to where it needs to go. It is the most common standard and is used for a majority of cell phones.
Personal Communications Service (PCS): PCS is a radio band that can be used by mobile phones in South Asia and North America. The Sprint happened to be the first service to set up a PCS.
D-AMPS: Digital Advanced Mobile Phone Service is an upgraded version of AMPS, which is being phased out due to advancement in technology. Newer GSM networks are replacing the older system.