Wireless network refers to any type of computer network that is wireless, and is commonly associated with a telecommunications network whose interconnections between nodes is implemented without the use of wires. Wireless telecommunications networks are generally implemented with some type of remote information transmission system that uses electromagnetic waves, such as radio waves, for the carrier and this implementation usually takes place at the physical level or "layer" of the network.
Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) is a type of wireless network that interconnects devices within a relatively small area, generally within reach of a person. For example, Bluetooth provides a WPAN for interconnecting a headset to a laptop. ZigBee also supports WPAN applications.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is a wireless alternative to a computer Local Area Network (LAN) that uses radio instead of wires to transmit data back and forth between computers in a small area such as a home, office, or school. Wireless LANs are standardized under the IEEE 802.11 series.
Wi-Fi is a commonly used wireless network in computer systems to enable connection to the internet or other devices that have Wi-Fi functionalities. Wi-Fi networks broadcast radio waves that can be picked up by Wi-Fi receivers attached to different computers or mobile phones.
This implements point to point links between computers or networks at two locations, often using dedicated microwave or laser beams over line of sight paths. It is often used in cities to connect networks in two or more buildings without physically wiring the buildings together.
Wireless Metropolitan area networks are a type of wireless network that connects several Wireless LANs.
D-AMPS, which stands for Digital Advanced Mobile Phone Service, is an upgraded version of AMPS but it is being phased out due to advancement in technology. The newer GSM networks are replacing the older system.
Wireless networks have had a significant impact on the world as far back as World War II. Through the use of wireless networks, information could be sent overseas or behind enemy lines easily, efficiently and more reliably. Since then, wireless networks have continued to develop and their uses have grown significantly. Cellular phones are part of huge wireless network systems. People use these phones daily to communicate with one another. Sending information overseas is possible through wireless network systems using satellites and other signals to communicate across the world. Emergency services such as the police department utilize wireless networks to communicate important information quickly. People and businesses use wireless networks to send and share data quickly whether it be in a small office building or across the world.
Another important use for wireless networks is as an inexpensive and rapid way to be connected to the Internet in countries and regions where the telecom infrastructure is poor or there is a lack of resources, as in most developing countries.
Compatibility issues also arise when dealing with wireless networks. Different components not made by the same company may not work together, or might require extra work to fix these issues. Wireless networks are typically slower than those that are directly connected through an Ethernet cable.
A wireless network is more vulnerable, because anyone can try to break into a network broadcasting a signal. Many networks offer WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy - security systems which have been found to be vulnerable to intrusion. Though WEP does block some intruders, the security problems have caused some businesses to stick with wired networks until security can be improved. Another type of security for wireless networks is WPA - Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA provides more security to wireless networks than a WEP security set up. The use of firewalls will help with security breaches which can help to fix security problems in some wireless networks that are more vulnerable.
In recent times, there have been increased concerns about the safety of wireless communications, despite little evidence of health risks so far. Questions of safety have been raised, citing that long term exposure to electromagnetic radiation of the sort emitted by wireless networks may someday prove to be dangerous.