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  1. Introduction
  2. Network Model
  3. Topology
  4. Physical Media
  5. Wireless Media
  6. Network Card
  7. Modems
  8. Outside Connections
  9. Wide Area Network Connections
  10. Repeaters, Bridges, Routers
  11. Network Types
  12. Ethernet
  13. Token Ring
  14. ARCnet
  15. AppleTalk
  16. FDDI
  17. Architecture Comparisons
  18. Categories
  19. TCP/IP
  20. IPX/SPX
  21. NetBEUI
  22. AppleTalk
  23. SNA
  24. Others
  25. Suites and Network Layers
  26. Installing Drivers
  27. DNS
  28. Network Operating Systems
  29. Applications, mail, groupware, DBMS
  30. Backing up the network
  31. Troubleshooting
  32. Web, SNMP, admin, firewalls
  33. Networking Terms and Definitions
  34. Credits

Wireless Media

Transmission of waves take place in the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. The carrier frequency of the data is expressed in cycles per second called hertz(Hz). Low frequency signals can travel for long distances through many obstacles but can not carry a high bandwidth of date while high frequency signals can travel for shorter distances through few obstacles and carry a narrow bandwidth. Also the noise effect on the signal is inversely proportional to the power of the radio transmitter. The three broad categories of wireless media are:

  1. Radio - 10 Khz to 1 Ghz. It is broken into many bands including AM, FM, and VHF bands. The Federal communications Commission (FCC) regulates the assignment of these frequencies. Frequencies for unregulated use are:
    • 902-928Mhz - Cordless phones, remote controls.
    • 2.4 Ghz
    • 5.72-5.85 Ghz
  2. Microwave
    • Terrestrial - Used to link networks over long distances but the two microwave towers must have a line of sight between them. The frequency is usually 4-6GHz or 21-23GHz. Speed is often 1-10Mbps. The signal is normally encrypted for privacy. Two nodes may exist.
    • Satellite - A satellite orbits at 22,300 miles above the earth which is an altitude that will cause it to stay in a fixed position relative to the rotation of the earth. This is called a geosynchronous orbit. A station on the ground will send and receive signals from the satellite. The signal can have propagation delays between 0.5 to 5 seconds due to the distances involved. The transmission frequency is normally 11-14GHz with a transmission speed in the range of 1-10Mbps.
  3. Infared - Infared is just below the visible range of light between 100Ghz and 1000Thz. A light emitting diode (LED) or laser is used to transmit the signal. The signal cannot travel through objects. Light may interfere with the signal. The types of infared are
    • Point to point - Transmission frequencies are 100GHz-1,000THz . Transmission is between two points and is limited to line of sight range. It is difficult to eavesdrop on the transmission. The speed is 100Kbps to 16Mbps
    • broadcast - The signal is dispersed so several units may receive the signal. The unit used to disperse the signal may be reflective material or a transmitter that amplifies and retransmits the signal. Normally the speed is limited to 1Mbps. The transmission frequency is normally 100GHz-1,000THz with transmission distance in 10's of meters. Installation is easy and cost is relatively inexpensive for wireless.


  • wireless bridge - Microwave or infared is used between two line of site points where it is difficult to run wire.
  • CDPD - Cellular Digital Packet Data will allow network connections for mobile users using satellites.

Categories of LAN Radio Communications

  • Low power, single frequency - Distance in 10s of meters. Speed in 1-10Mbps. Susceptible to interference and eavesdropping.
  • High power, single frequency - Require FCC licensing and high power transmitter. Speed in 1-10Mbps. Susceptible to interference and eavesdropping.
  • Spread spectrum - It uses several frequencies at the same time. The frequency is normally 902-928MHz with some networks at 2.4GHz. The speed of 902MHz systems is between 2 and 6Mbps. If frequency-hopping is used, the speed is normally lower than 2Mbps. Not as susceptable to EMI, but still susceptable. Two types are:
    1. Direct sequence modulation - The data is broken into parts and transmitted simultaneously on multiple frequencies. Decoy data may be transmitted for better security. The speed is normally 2 to 6 Mbps.
    2. Frequency hopping - The transmitter and receiver change predetermined frequencies at the same time (in a synchronized manner). The speed is normally 1Gbps.

Wireless Media Comparisons

MediaSpeedApprox Cost/station
900 Mhz Spread spectrum2-6Mbps$5000
6 Ghz Spread Spectrum2-6Mbps$1000
23Ghz Microwave6Mbps at 50 kilometers$15000
Intra building Infared10Mbps$400
Medium distance inter building Infared10Mbps at 500 meters$5000
Long distance inter building Infared155Mbps at 500 meters, Less than 20Mbps at 1200 meters.$8000