Network Technologies

Infrared

Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of microwave radiation. The name means "below red" (from the Latin infra, "below"), red being the color of visible light of longest wavelength.

Bluetooth

Is an industrial specification for wireless personal area networks (PANs). Bluetooth provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, laptops, PCs, printers and digital cameras via a secure, low-cost, globally available short range radio frequency.

FHSS

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum is a spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver. Spread-spectrum transmission offers these advantages over a fixed-frequency transmission:

  • Highly resistant to noise and interference.
  • Signals are difficult to intercept. A Frequency-Hop spread-spectrum signal sounds like a momentary noise burst or simply an increase in the background noise for short Frequency-Hop codes on any narrowband receiver except a Frequency-Hop spread-spectrum receiver using the exact same channel sequence as was used by the transmitter.
  • Transmissions can share a frequency band with many types of conventional transmissions with minimal interference. As a result, bandwidth can be utilized more efficiently.

DSSS

direct-sequence spread spectrum is a modulation technique where the transmitted signal takes up more bandwidth than the information signal that is being modulated, which is the reason that it is called spread spectrum. Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) uses one channel to send data across all frequencies within that channel. Complementary Code Keying (CCK) is a method for encoding transmissions for higher data rates, such as 5.5 and 11 Mbps, but it still allows backward compatibility with the original 802.11 standard, which supports only 1 and 2 Mbps speeds. 802.11b and 802.11g support this transmission method.

Comparison of DSSS and Frequency Hopped SS

DSSS

  • Flexible support of variable data rates
  • High capacity is possible with enhancements (interference cancellation, adaptive antenna, etc.)
  • Suffers from near-far effect

FHSS

  • Suitable for ad hoc networks (no near-far problem)
  • Robust to interference
  • Limited data rate

OFDM

Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing, also called discrete multitone modulation (DMT), is a transmission technique based upon the idea of frequency-division multiplexing (FDM). OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) increases data rates by using a spread spectrum: modulation. 802.11a and 802.11g support this transmission method.

  • Used in some wireless LAN applications, including WiMAX and IEEE 802.11a/g
  • Used in many communications systems such as: ADSL, Wireless LAN, Digital audio broadcasting.

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output)

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) transmission, which uses DSSS and/or OFDM by spreading its signal across 14 overlapping channels at 5 MHz intervals. 802.11n uses it. Use of 802.11n requires multiple antennas.

802.11a 802.11b 802.11g 802.11n
Data Rate 54 Mbps 11 Mbps 54 Mbps 248 Mbps (with 2×2 antennas)
Throughput 23 Mbps 4.3 Mbps 19 Mbps 74 Mbps
Frequency 5 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 and/or 5 GHz
Compatibility None With 802.11g and the original 802.11 With 802.11b 802.11a, b, and g
Range (meters) 35–120 38–140 38–140 70–250
Number of Channels 3 Up to 23 3 14
Transmission OFDM DSSS DSSS/OFDM MIMO

Radio Frequency Transmission Factors

Radio frequencies (RF) are generated by antennas that propagate the waves into the air. Antennas fall under two different categories:

  • Directional
  • Omni-directional

Directional Directional antennas are commonly used in point-to-point configurations (connecting two distant buildings), and sometimes point-to-multipoint (connecting two WLANs). An example of a directional antenna is a Yagi antenna: this antenna allows you to adjust the direction and focus of the signal to intensify your range/reach.

Omni-directional Omni-directional antennas are used in point-to-multipoint configurations, where they distribute the wireless signal to other computers or devices in your WLAN. An access point would use an omni-directional antenna. These antennas can also be used for point-to-point connections, but they lack the distance that directional antennas supply

Three main factors influence signal distortion:

  • Absorption Objects that absorb the RF waves, such as walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Scattering Objects that disperse the RF waves, such as rough plaster on a wall, carpet on the floor, or drop-down ceiling tiles
  • Reflection Objects that reflect the RF waves, such as metal and glass

Responsible body

The International Telecommunication Union-Radio Communication Sector (ITU-R) is responsible for managing the radio frequency (RF) spectrum and satellite orbits for wireless communications: its main purpose is to provide for cooperation and coexistence of standards and implementations across country boundaries.
Two standards bodies are primarily responsible for implementing WLANs:

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
  • The Wi-Fi Alliance.

IEEE Defines the mechanical process of how WLANs are implemented in the 802.11 standards so that vendors can create compatible products.

The Wi-Fi Alliance Basically certifies companies by ensuring that their products follow the 802.11 standards, thus allowing customers to buy WLAN products from different vendors without having to be concerned about any compatibility issues.

Frequencies bands:

WLANs use three unlicensed bands:

  • 900 MHz Used by older cordless phones
  • 2.4 GHz Used by newer cordless phones, WLANs, Bluetooth, microwaves, and other devices
  • 5 GHz Used by the newest models of cordless phones and WLAN devices

900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies are referred to as the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) bands.

5 GHz frequency the Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) band.

Unlicensed bands are still regulated by governments, which might define restrictions in their usage.

A hertz (Hz) is a unit of frequency that measures the change in a state or cycle in a wave (sound or radio) or alternating current (electricity) during 1 second.

802.11g

Suffers from the same interference as 802.11b in the already crowded 2.4 GHz range. Devices operating in this range include microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, and cordless telephones. Since the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used, using the 5 GHz band gives 802.11a the advantage of less interference. However, this high carrier frequency also brings disadvantages. It restricts the use of 802.11a to almost line of sight, necessitating the use of more access points; it also means that 802.11a cannot penetrate as far as 802.11b since it is absorbed more readily, other things (such as power) being equal.

802.11a

Transmits radio signals in the frequency range above 5 GHz. This range is "regulated," meaning that 802.11a gear utilizes frequencies not used by other commercial wireless products like cordless phones. In contrast, 802.11b utilizes frequencies in the unregulated 2.4 GHz range and encounters much more radio interference from other devices.

IEEE 802.11a / IEEE 802.11h

This is also a physical layer enhancement. IEEE 802.11a provides significantly higher performance than 802.11b, at 54 Mbps. Unlike 802.11b, the 802.11a standard operates within the frequency range of 5.47 to 5.725 GHz and is not subject to the same interference from other commercial electronic products. This higher frequency band allows significantly higher speeds of communication over the 2.4 GHz range.

802.11g APs are backward compatible with 802.11b APs. This backward compatibility with 802.11b is handled through the MAC layer, not the physical layer. On the negative side, because 802.11g operates at the same frequency as 802.11b, it is subject to the same interferences from electronic devices such as cordless phones. Since the standard’s approval in June 2003, 802.11g products are gaining momentum and will most likely become as widespread as 802.11b products. Table II-1 displays basic 802.11b/a/g characteristics.

The common range of operation for 802.11b is 150 feet for a floor divided into individual offices by concrete or sheet-rock, about 300 feet in semi-open indoor spaces such as offices partitioned into individual workspaces, and about 1000 feet in large open indoor areas. Disadvantages of 802.11b include interference from electronic products such as cordless phones and microwave ovens.

Range

The layout of your building can reduce the range.

  • A lot of concrete walls can reduce your range.
  • The size of the antenna and the placement greatly affect the range of their signals
  • The weather and amount of water vapor in the air can affect your signals strength

Speed

  • The layout of your building can reduce the speed
  • The size of the antenna and its signal can affect your speed
  • The weather and amount of water vapor can weaken the signal and affect your speed