Wireless data network refers to any type of computer network that delivers data over wireless medium, and is commonly associated with a data network whose interconnections between nodes is implemented without the use of wires. Wi-Fi is a commonly used wireless network in computer systems to enable connection to the internet or other machines that have Wi-Fi network interface cards.
■ Personal Area Connectivity
Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) is a type of wireless network that interconnects devices within a relatively small area, generally within reach of an individual person
- High-data-rate Personal Connectivity: IEEE 802.15.3, IEEE 802.15.3a
IEEE 802.153 is the IEEE standard for a high-data-rate WPAN devised to provide sufficient network bandwidth for the real-time distribution of multimedia content such as video and music. It is ideally suited for a home multimedia wireless network.
- Low-data-rate Personal Connectivity: IEEE 802.15.4, IEEE 802.15.4a, IEEE 802.15.5, ZigBee
The specification meets the needs of low-cost, battery-operated devices. The protocol allows devices to intercommunicate and be usually powered by batteries. The ZigBee protocol carries all the benefits of the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol with added networking/application functionality.
■ Last Mile Connectivity (Wireless Local Area Networks): IEEE 802.11, Hot Spots
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN} is similar to other wireless devices and uses radio instead of wires to transmit data back and forth between computers on the same network. It provides Internet connectivity for nomadic or stationary people at the last edge of wired networks.
■ Community Connectivity (Wireless Mesh Networks)
Wireless mesh network is a first step towards providing high-bandwidth network over a specific area of residence. Wireless mesh network aims at replacing xDSL connectivity in residence area by using peer radio devices that do not have to be cabled to a wired port like traditional WLAN access points (AP) do. Also, it includes the functionality of provisioning ad hoc connectivity in emergent situations.
■ Urban & Regional Connectivity: IEEE 802.16, IEEE 802.20
Wireless Metropolitan area networks are a type of wireless network that connects several Wireless LANS to support mobile users across metropolitan area. WiMAX is the term used to refer to wireless MANS and is covered in IEEE 802.16d/802.16e.