Wireless Network Types

What are the different types of wireless networks, when and where are they used, and who uses them?

The different types of wireless networks do exist that have a major role in the development of wireless solutions, whether individually or in different combinations. There are three different types of networks as mentioned below. Furthermore, how each of these wireless networks can add a value is also explained.

The three different types of networks are:

  • Wide area networks

  • Wireless local area networks

  • Personal area networks


Wide area networks


These are the wireless networks usually created by cellular carriers. These are wireless connections essentially provide by carriers of cell phone, like Bell Mobility, Telus® Mobility, and Rogers® Wireless. These connections overlay the services of digital data on top of the services of early analogue voice and then build the latest generation of network, namely, voice plus data. These carriers determine where the coverage is available mainly based upon their business strategy. In addition to this, they control the quality of service (QOS). WAN is utilized when the most important is reach and not speed. Reach is important to provide a wireless solution to the public at large.

GMS/GPRS is the voice plus data network by Rogers® wireless and has been updated to EDGE in 2004.
1XRTT i.e. IX is the latest voice plus data network offered by Bell and Telus® Mobility. These two networks are truly incompatible with each other.

Wireless local area networks


These are the networks that can be created by you. Wireless LANs provide wireless connectivity with a coverage that is finite. It could be typical coverage, like university, hospital, airport, etc. These wireless connections have a well-organized audience in mind, like students, employees, and others. Normally, Wireless LANs are used when there is a high data transfer rate factor like sending a patient x-ray with a high data rate to the doctor when he is in within the hospital premises. It is an unregulated spectrum part, so it can be created by anyone at home or at office. Wireless LANs include 802.11 – the network used in wireless LANs. It is a family of technologies like 802.11 and 802.11b differing in speed. Wi-Fi™ is a common name for 802.11b standards.

In addition to this, some organizations and Telus® Mobility provide high speed WLAN Internet access to the public in a certain location, specifically called hotspots.
Personal area networks

These are the networks that get created on their own and provide wireless connectivity up to 10 meters or so. The most popular of such networking technology is undoubtedly Bluetooth®. Personal area networks are different than WAN and Wireless LANs. In WANs and Wireless LANs networks, the network is first set-up; however, in personal area networks, there is no such independent existing network. The devices participating are on an ad-hoc network and the network is dissolved when the device is out of range. The personal area networks technology has added true value to the wireless technology.
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