The 4 different types of wireless networks

There are four types of wireless networks: wireless local area networks, wireless metropolitan area networks, wireless personal area networks, and wireless wide area networks, each with its own function.

Below we discuss the different types of wireless networks and the various equipment and the connections they need.

1. Wireless LAN

Wireless LAN (WLAN) technology provides Internet access in a building or in limited outdoor space. First used in offices and homes, WLAN technology is now also used in shops and restaurants. The the use of home networks has increased considerably because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced office workers, students, teachers and others to work and study from home.

More home network designs are simple. A modem connects to cable or fiber from a local service provider. A wireless router is connected to the modem and receives the modem’s signal, which it then broadcasts using a wireless protocol, such as 802.11 standards.

Office networks are more complicated. Access points (access points) are ceiling mounted, each broadcasting a wireless signal to the surrounding area. Multiple access points are needed in large offices, each connecting to the office backbone network through a wired connection to a switch.

2. MAN wireless

Wireless metro networks have been installed in cities around the world to provide access to people outside of an office or home network. These networks cover a larger area than office or home networks, but the principles are the same. Access points are located on the sides of buildings or on telephone poles throughout the coverage area. Access points are connected to the Internet via a wired network and broadcast a wireless signal throughout the area. Users connect to the desired destination by connecting to the nearest access point, which transmits the connection through its Internet connection.

3. Wireless PAN

Personal wireless networks cover a very limited area – typically a maximum of 100 meters for most applications – using protocols such as Bluetooth and Zigbee. Bluetooth enables hands-free phone calls, connects a phone to headphones, or transmits signals between smart devices. Zigbee connects stations along an IoT network. Infrared technology is limited to line of sight, such as connecting TV remotes to TVs.

Wireless developers have constantly improved the technology by discover new ways transmit signals to users. These advancements allow for higher data rates and increasing reach for each of these wireless technologies.

4. Wireless WAN

Wireless WANs use cellular technology to provide access outside the range of a wireless LAN or metropolitan network. These networks allow users to make phone calls to others connecting through a wireless WAN or wired phone system. Users can also connect to the Internet to access websites or server-based applications.

Cell phone towers are located almost everywhere in the United States and in most other countries. A user connection is routed to the nearest cell phone tower which, in turn, is connected either to the wired Internet or to another tower connected to the wired Internet.


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