No Strings Attached: What Is a Wireless Network?

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Do you want to learn what and how a wireless network works? Are you looking to see how it differs from wired connections, like if it’s faster? Below, we’ve got a quick guide on wireless networks.

Today, having an internet connection is one of the essentials of modern living. Staying connected during the recent pandemic is even helpful to most people. More than half of adults in the US say that the internet was essential during the lockdowns.

One of the ways you connect to the internet is through a wireless network. Below, let’s take a closer look at what it is and how they work. Keep reading to learn more about wireless networks.

1. What Is a Wireless Network?

A wireless network is a network for computers that allows the users to roam untethered to wires. The connected devices often include computers and laptops and smartphones and tablets. Smart security systems and smart home devices also use wireless networks.

Often, the devices in one house or workplace share the same broadband connection. The traditional version of this shared system is the Local Area Networking (LAN). However, today, you can find shared connections through Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN).

In workplaces, the computers can even talk to one another through WLAN. You can find WLAN connections in schools, computer labs, and campuses. The most common wireless connection you can see today is Wi-Fi.

2. Types of Wireless Networks

Other than Wi-Fi, there are other types of wireless connections people use today. The first one is the Wireless Personal Area Network or WPAN. This is a short-range network that connects devices within a small area. The range of WPAN can reach up to 30 feet.

You can find WPAN in Bluetooth devices, like when you connect a pair of wireless headphones to your phone. Often, you can’t travel too far from your phone. Otherwise, you’ll lose the Bluetooth connection to your headphones.

We’ve already mentioned the next type, WLAN. Instead of Bluetooth, WLAN uses radio waves to connect devices to the internet. The source of the WLAN is often a wired one, which spreads its radio waves across a home or a school campus.

Next, you’ve got Wireless Wide Area Networks or WWAN. These are networks that cover large areas, like cities or countries. It uses several satellite systems, antenna sites, or mobile phone signals.

The last one is the Wireless Metropolitan Area Network or WMAN.

This connects WLANs in a city, often from building to building. This wireless networking type can cover a 5- to 10-kilometer diameter. It allows the sharing of regional resources between networks.

As you can see, there are many types of wireless connections. Yet, only WPAN and WLAN are available for personal use and small businesses.

3. How Does a Wireless Network Work?

For this part, let’s focus on the most common type of wireless network, WLAN. As we mentioned above, it uses radio waves. This means the communication across a wireless network is like two-way radio communication.

For example, you connect your smartphone to your Wi-Fi router. A router is a small box that you plug into your telephone socket. This is part of the wireless networking system that uses wire and cables.

Next, your smartphone’s wireless adapter will translate data into radio signals and send it through an antenna. When the wireless router receives the signal, it decodes it. Then, the router sends the data to the Internet through the wired or Ethernet connection.

The data will come back to you in the same way, but in reverse. The router receives the data from the internet, translates it into the radio signal, and sends it to you. Unlike communication between walkie-talkies, this all happens within milliseconds.

4. Benefits of Using a Wireless Network

Most businesses today prefer to use a wireless network because of its many benefits. First, it is convenient. No matter where you are in the area, you can access your resources through the wireless network.

Also, the user can work from any point in the building and without getting tethered to a spot. This has a link to the mobility advantage that a wireless network offers. If a user connects with the network on his phone, he can go to any area in the building and still stay connected.

Another advantage of wireless networks vs. wired networks is that the wireless option is easier to set up. You don’t need to plot out where cables and wires have to be. You only need to install the router, and you’re good to go.

It ties into the cost-effectiveness of using a wireless network. You don’t need to budget for the wiring and cable connections. Because there won’t be cables, you also won’t need to pay an expert to install them.

Expandability is another big advantage of wireless networks, especially for businesses. You don’t need to re-route any wires or do anything else if you need to expand your network. You can already do that with only your existing equipment.

Also, let’s not forget that security in wireless networking solutions is always advancing. You can use encryption to keep intruders out of the network.

5. More Facts About Wireless Network Systems

If you must pick between the two, here’s a good question to ask. Is a wireless network faster than a wired network? Some years ago, wired connections were much faster than Wi-Fi connections.

Thanks to the development of wireless technology, wireless networks are faster than before. Yet, when you compare it to wired networks, the latter is faster. Wired connections don’t get weighed down by unexpected or unnecessary traffic.

An interesting fact is the misconception of Wi-Fi. Most people think that Wi-Fi is a shorter term for Wireless Fidelity. However, Wi-Fi is only the designed logo and trademark by Wi-Fi Alliance. It doesn’t have any other meaning to it.

Expand Your Learning on Wireless Technology

That is our guide on wireless networks. We hope you enjoyed reading and learning about the wireless network with us. We also hope that you now have a better idea of how it works.

Do you want more wireless networking information and understand it better? Do you want to learn more about wireless connections? Check out our other blog posts now to discover more about wireless networks.

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