5.1 Going Wireless

In a fast-paced computer world dominated by telephone lines, T1 lines, Ethernet cabling and other physical media, wireless media is steadily gaining ground. Constant innovations are making wireless communication easier, less expensive, more efficient and, in some cases, more practical than physical media. Such challenges as long distances and immovable physical obstacles can often prove too rigorous for physical media. In these cases, wireless media may be used to overcome problems inherent with the physical.

What is Wireless Communication?

When computers communicate "via the air waves," and without physical media like wires and cable, the transmission between the computers is considered "wireless." Wireless data transfer is also called "wireless communication."

Typical wireless communication modes include infrared waves, radio waves and microwaves. At present, there are three main wireless communication categories.

  1. Wireless LAN Communications — used within a company's facility on private equipment.
  2. Wireless Bridging and Internetworking — used for connecting buildings and facilities on campuses, within metropolitan areas or between offices in different planetary locations by satellite.
  3. Wireless Mobile Communications — designed for use on the road, using public carrier resources including radio, cellular networks and satellite stations.