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CHAPTER 3- Network Media




Lesson 9  Wireless Media

Wireless LAN
Extended LAN
Mobile Computing
Wireless Transmission Techniques


 To learn wireless network capabilities.
 Know the characteristics of wireless area network.
 Be familiar with the wireless network and wireless transmission techniques

The Wireless Environment

Wireless   environment   is   often   an   appropriate,   and   sometimes   necessary,

networking option. Nowadays, manufacturers are offering more products at
attractive prices that, in turn, will mean increased sales and demand in the
future.   As   demand   increases,   the   wireless   environment   will   grow   and

The   phrase   “wireless   environment”   is   misleading   because   it   implies   a

network   completely   free   of   cabling.   In   most   cases,   this   is   not   true.   Most
wireless   networks   actually   consist   of   wireless   components   communication
with a network that uses the cabling discussed previously at lesson 4 in a
mixed­component network called a hybrid network.

Wireless Network Capabilities

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Wireless networks are attracting attention because it can:

 Provide temporary connection to an existing, cable network.
 Help provide backup to an existing network.
 Provide some degree of portability.
 Extend networks beyond the limits of physical connectivity.

Use for Wireless – Network Connectivity

The   main   advantage   of   wireless   networking   is   flexibility.   The   inherent

difficulty of setting up cable networks is a factor that will continue to push
wireless environments toward greater acceptance. Wireless connectivity can
be especially useful for networking:
 Busy locations, such as lobbies and reception areas.
 Users who are constantly on the move, such as doctors and nurses in
 Isolated areas and buildings.
 Department   in   which   the   physical   setting   changes   frequently   and
 Structures,   such   as   historic   buildings,   for   which   cabling   present

Types of Wireless Networking

The primary difference between these types lies in the transmission facilities.
The types of wireless network include:

1. Wireless LAN
Wireless   LAN   basically   operates   by   using   electromagnetic   radio   or
infrared   airwaves   to   send   information   from   one   point   to   another   without
using  a physical  connection.  Except  for the  media  used,  a typical  wireless
network operates almost like a cabled network: a wireless network interface
card with a transceiver is installed in each computers. The main components
of a wireless LAN are: a Wireless LAN enabled client and an Access Point.

CHAPTER 3- Network Media

Figure 2.40 Example of a Wireless LAN Network

An Access Point or a transceiver broadcasts and receives signals to and
from the surrounding computers and passes data back and forth between the
wireless computers and the cabled network
2. Extended LAN

Extended LAN makes use of a Wireless Bridge that connects two pre­
existing networks. Wireless Bridge is a component that offers an easy way to
link buildings without using cable.

Figure 2.41 Example of a Wireless Extended LAN

In   the   same   way   that   two   separated   building   are   connected   using
footbridge, a wireless bridge provides a data path between two networks of
different buildings.

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Wireless   LAN’s   and   extended   LAN’s   use   transmitters   and   receivers

owned by the company in which the network operates.

3. Mobile Computing

Mobile computing or also known as Cellular Technology incorporates
wireless   adapters   using   cellular   telephone   technology   to   connect   portable
computers with the cabled network. Mobile computing uses public carriers,
such   as   long   distance   telephone   companies,   along   with   local   telephone
companies and their public services, to transmit and receive signals using:
Packet­radio   communication,   Cellular   networks,   and   Satellite

Packet  Radio Transmission  breaks  a transmission  into packets. The

packets are linked up to a satellite that broadcasts them. Only devices with
the correct address can receive the broadcast packets.

                                Figure 2.42 Cellular Network

Cellular Networks or Cellular Digital  Packet  Data  (CDPD)  uses the

same technology and some of the same systems that cellular telephones use.

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It offers computer data Transmissions over existing analog voice networks
between voice calls when the system is not busy. This is very fast technology
that suffers only subsecond delays, making it reliable enough for real­time

Figure 2.43 Cellular Network Plan

4. Satellite Stations

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Figure 2.44 Microwave System

Microwave   systems   are   good   for   interconnecting   buildings   in   small,

short­distance systems such as those on a campus or in an industrial park.

Microwave   is   currently   the   most   widely   used   long   distance

transmission method in the United States. It is excellent for communicating
between two line of sight points such as:
 Satellite to ground links .
 Between two buildings.
 Across large, flat, open areas such as bodies of water or deserts.

A microwave system consists of:

 Two radio transceivers one to generate (transmitting station) and one to
receive (receiving station) the broadcast.

 Two   directional   antennas   pointed   at   each   other   to   implement

communication   of   the   signals   broadcast   by   the   transceivers.   These
antennas are often installed on towers to give them more range and raise
them above anything which might block their signals.

 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 4­6GHz or 21­23GHz. Speed is often 1­10Mbps.
The signal is normally encrypted for privacy.
 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

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on   the   ground   will   send   and   receive   signals   from   the   satellite.   The
signal can have propagation delays between 0.5 and 5 seconds due to
the   distances   involved.   The   transmission   frequency   is   normally   11­
14GHz with a transmission speed in the range of 1­10Mbps.

5. Wireless PAN (Personal Area Network)

Wireless Personal Area Network sometimes referred to as Private Area
Network  is   a  relatively  new  concept;  a  wireless  PAN   is   a  ad  hoc  network
created   by   bluetooth   enabled   devices   &   refers   to   a   confined   short­range
network. It serve a single person or small workgroup.

Typically   it   has   a   limited   range   of   less   than   35   feet   &   facilitates

communication among a group of personal devices like PDAs, notebooks &
cell phones in close physical proximity. The main components of a PAN are a
host controller, a Bluetooth Radio and one or more Bluetooth­enabled device.

Figure 2.45 Personal Area Network (PAN) 

The primary difference between these categories is the transmission
facilities. Wireless LANs and extended LANs use transmitters and receivers
owned by the company in which the network operates. Mobile computing uses

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public carriers such as AT&T, MCI, Sprint and the local telephone companies
and their public services, to transmit and receive signals.

Wireless Local Area Networks

A typical wireless network looks and acts almost like a cabled network except
for the media. A wireless network adapter card with a transceiver is installed
into each computer, and users communicate with the network just as if they
were at cabled computers.

Access Points

The transceiver, sometimes called an access point, broadcasts and receives
signals to and from  the surrounding  computers  and passes data back and
forth between the wireless computers and the cabled network.

These wireless LANs use small wall­mounted transceivers to connect to the
wired   network.   The   transceivers   establish   radio   contact   with   portable
networked devices. This is not a true wireless 
LAN  because it  uses   a  wall­mounted  transceiver   to  connect   to  a  standard
cabled LAN.

Wireless LANs use Four Technique for Transmitting Data:

Wireless   Networks   use   four   techniques   for   transmitting   data:   Infrared

Transmission,   Laser   Transmission,   Narrowband   (single­frequency)   radio
transmission and spread­spectrum radio transmission.

1. Infrared   Transmission.  Used   in   wireless   LANs.   This   infrared

wireless networks operate by using an infrared light beam to carry
the data between devices. However, this system need to generate
very   strong   signals   because   weak   transmission   signals   are
susceptible   to   interference   from   light   sources   such   as   windows.
Many   of   the   high­end   printers   sold   today   are   preconfigured   to
accept infrared signals.

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Figure 2.46 Infrared Network

All infrared wireless networks operate by using an infrared light beam
to   carry   the   data   between   devices.   These   systems   need   to   generate   very
strong   signals   because   weak   transmission   signals   are   susceptible   to   light
from sources such as windows.

This   method   can   transmit   signals   at   high   rates   because   of   infrared

light's high bandwidth. An infrared network can normally broadcast at 10

There are four types of infrared networks:

1. Line­of­sight networks

As the name implies, this version of infrared transmits only if
the transmitter and receiver have a clear line of sight between them.

2. Scatter infrared networks
This   technology   broadcasts   transmissions   so   they   bounce   off
walls and ceilings and eventually hit the receiver. This has an effective
area limited to about 100 feet and has a slow signal because of all of
the signal bouncing.

3. Reflective networks

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In   this   version   of   infrared   networks,   optical   transceivers

situated near the computers transmit toward a common location which
redirects the transmissions to the appropriate computer.

4. Broadband optical telepoint
This   version   of   infrared   wireless   LAN   provides   broadband
services.   This   wireless   network   is   capable   of   handling   high   quality
multimedia requirements that can match those provided by a cabled

Wireless portable computer using an infrared light beam to print

While the speed of infrared and its conveniences are generating
interest,   infrared   has   difficulty   transmitting   distances   greater   than
100 feet. It is also subject to interference from the strong ambient light
found in most business environments.

Added features of some cellular phone units can communicate
using infrared signals making it easier for you to download picture( for
cellphone units with cameras as well).

2. Laser   Transmission.  LASER   stands   for   Light   Amplification

Stimulated   Emission   of   Radiation,   and   it   describes   the   physical
process   by   which   light   is   amplified.   This   transmission   technique
can also be used in wireless LANs. Laser technology is similar to
infrared technology in that it requires a direct line of sight, and any
person or things that laser beam will block the transmission.

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Figure 2.47 Laser Transmission

3. Narrowband   (Single­frequency)   Radio   Transmission.  This

transmission   technique   is   similar   to   broadcasting   from   a   radio
station. The user tunes both the transmitter and the receiver to a
certain   frequency.   This   does   not   require   line­of­sight   focusing
because the broadcast range is 3000 meters (9842 feet). However,
because the signals is high frequency, it is subject to attenuation
from   steel   and   load­bearing   walls.   Narrowband   radio   is   a
subscription service.

The   service   provider   handles   all   the   Federal   Communication

Commision (FCC) licensing requirements. This method is slow; transmssion
is in the 4.8 Mbps range.

Most   communication   technologies   we   are   familiar   with—radio,

television, two­way radios—use what is called narrowband communications.
Each station or channel operates over a very thin slice of the radio spectrum.
Because the station is assigned that particular band, and the FCC ensures
that   no   other   broadcasters   in   the   local   area   use   that   same   band   through
licensing, there is no interference. The range of each station is limited, so the
same frequency can be re­used a great distance away without interference.

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4. Spread Spectrum Radio Transmission. The Radio transmission
technique   broadcasts   signals   over   a   range   of   frequencies.   This
addresses the narrowband communication problems. The available
frequencies   are   divided   into   channels   or   hops.   The   adapters   for
spreads spectrum are tuned in to a specific hop at a predetermined
period of time and then switches onto the next hop.

Because many devices might use the ISM bands in a local
area, additional technology is required to keep the various signals
from   interfering   with   each   other.   Fortunately,   a   technology   has
been   developed   over   the   past   fifty   years   which   permits   such
bandwidth "sharing." This technology provides a way to spread the
radio   signal   over   a   wide   "spectrum"   of   radio   frequencies,
minimizing the impact of narrowband interference. In most cases,
only   small   parts   of   the   transmission   are   corrupted   by   any
interference,   and   coding   techniques   allow   that   data   to   be
recaptured.   This   technology   is   now   generally   known   as spread

There are currently two different spreading techniques used.
Both   use   a   coded   pattern   of   communication.   A   receiving   unit   is
synchronized to use the same pattern and successfully receive the
transmission.   Any   other   radio   unit   hears   the   signal   as   noise
because it is not programmed with the appropriate coding. The two
techniques are called frequency hopping spread spectrum and direct
sequence spread spectrum.

All the computers in the network are synchronized to the hop
timing. This provides uilt­in security. To be able to tap data, the
frequency­hopping   algorithm   of   the   network   would   have   to   be

ISM bands, short for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical band

Frequency­hopping   spread   spectrum (FHSS)  is   a   method   of

transmitting   radio   signals   by   rapidly   switching   a carrier among   many

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frequency channels,   using   a pseudorandom sequence   known   to   both

transmitter and receiver.   It   is   utilized   as   a multiple   access   method in
the frequency­hopping code division multiple access (FH­CDMA) scheme.

Direct­sequence   spread   spectrum (DSSS)   is

a modulation technique.   As   with   other spread   spectrum technologies,   the
transmitted signal takes up more bandwidth than the information signal that
is being modulated. The name 'spread spectrum' comes from the fact that the
carrier   signals   occur   over   the   full   bandwidth   (spectrum)   of   a   device's
transmitting frequency. Certain IEEE 802.11 standards use DSSS signaling.

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