Going Wireless

A wireless local area network (LAN) is a flexible data communications system used as an extension to, or as an alternative for, a wired LAN. Using radio frequency technology, wireless LANs transmit and receive data over the air, minimizing the need for wired connections. Thus, wireless LANs combine data connectivity with user mobility. Today wireless LANs are becoming more widely recognized as a general-purpose connectivity alternative for a broad range of business customers.

The reliance on networking in business and the growth of the Internet and online services are strong testimonies to the benefits of shared data and resources. With wireless LANs, users can access shared information without looking for a place to plug in and network managers can set up or augment networks without installing or moving wires. Laptop users join the network by simply entering the room or building. Wireless connections useful in areas such as conference rooms, or even when connecting nearby buildings. Wireless LANs offer mobility, installation speed and simplicity, flexibility, reduced cost-of-ownership, and scalability.

Flexibility and mobility make wireless LANs both effective extensions and attractive alternatives to wired networks. Wireless LANs provide all the functionality of wired LANs, without the physical constraints of the wire itself. Wireless LANs range from simple peer-to-peer topologies to complex networks offering distributed data connectivity and roaming. Besides offering end-user mobility within a networked environment, wireless LANs also enable portable networks, allowing LANs to move with the workers that use them.

July 2000

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