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UCCS2113 - Communication Network Assignment

8. About The Wireless LAN . Why Wireless LAN is being marketed aggressively by carriers.

A wireless LAN or WLAN is a wireless local area network which is the linking of two or more computers without using wires. It is flexible data communications system implemented as an extension to or as an alternative for, a wired LAN. Using radio frequency (RF) 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.

Wireless LANs have gained strong popularity in a number of vertical markets, including the health-care, retail, manufacturing, warehousing, and academia. These industries have profited from the productivity gains of using hand-held terminals and notebook computers to transmit real-time information to centralized hosts for processing. Today wireless LANs are becoming more widely recognized as a general-purpose connectivity alternative for a broad range of business customers. Business Research Group, a market research firm, predicts a sixfold expansion of the worldwide wireless LAN market by the year 2000, reaching more than $2 billion in revenues.

Wireless LAN is being marketed aggressively by carriers because 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. So wireless LANs offer the following productivity, convenience and cost advantages over traditional wired networks:

Mobility- Wireless LAN systems can provide LAN users with access to real-time information anywhere in their organization. This mobility supports productivity and service opportunities not possible with wired network

Installation Speed and Simplicity- Installing a wireless LAN system can be fast and easy and can eliminate the need to pull cable through walls and ceilings.

Installation Flexibility- Wireless technology allows the network to go where wire cannot go. Example: hostel, coffee bean and other.

Reduced Cost of ownership- while the initial investment required for wireless LAN hardware can be higher than the cost of wired LAN hardware because overall installation expenses and life-cycle costs can be significantly lower. For long term cost benefits are greatest in dynamic environments requiring frequent moves and changes.

Scalability- Wireless LAN systems can be configured in a variety of topologies to meet the needs of specific applications and installations. Configurations are easily changed and range from peer to peer networks suitable for a small number of users to full infrastructure networks for thousands of users that enable roaming over a broad area.

Wireless LAN is being adopted enthusiastically by enterprises because with wireless LAN enterprises can access to the internet or own company server without to looking for a place to plug in or installing and moving wires. So the following can offer wireless LAN to enterprises:

Cost- A wireless LAN implementation includes both infrastructure costs that are wireless access points and user costs and wireless LAN adapters. If using wired traditional network, it will spent more cost than wireless LAN because the cost of installing and maintaining a wireless LAN generally is lower that the cost of installing and maintaining a traditional wired LAN. So a wireless LAN eliminates the direct costs of cabling and the labor associated with installing and repairing it and wireless LANs simplify moves, adds and changes. So they reduce the indirect costs of user downtime and administrative overhead.

Security- wireless technology has roots in military applications, so security has long been a design criterion for wireless devices. Security provisions are typically built into wireless LANs making them more secure than most wired LANs. It is extremely difficult for unintended receivers to listen in on wires LAN traffic. So complex encryption techniques make it impossible for all but the most sophisticated to gain unauthorized access to network traffic. In general, users must be security enabled before they are allowed to participate in network traffic.

Safety- The output power of wireless LAN systems is very low. Much less that that of a hand held cellular phone. Since radio waves fade rapidly over distance, very little exposure to RF energy is provide to those in the area of a wireless LANA system. So no adverse health affects have ever been attributed to wireless LANs.

Scalability- Wireless networks can be designed to be extremely simple or quite complex. Wireless networks can support large numbers of nodes and large physical areas by adding access points to boost or extend coverage.

Integrity and reliability- Wireless data technologies have been proven through more that fifty years of wireless application in both commercial and military systems. While radio interference can cause degradation in throughput such interference is rare in the workplace. Robust designs of proven wireless LAN technology and the limited distance over which signals travel result in connections that are far more robust than cellular phone connections and provide data integrity performance equal to or better that wired networking.