Wireless networks provide communication abilities and access to the internet without using standard wired infrastructure. Communication happens between computer devices such as laptops, personal computers (PCs), printers, servers, and other peripheral devices. Most newer electronic devices are made with wireless network connections. A wireless network allows the freedom of mobility to users, giving them the ability to connect from anywhere. As companies expand their use of technology and conduct business internationally, the need for a mobile network option has increased exponentially.
There are several secure wireless network types:
- Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): WLANs form a network within a local area, such as a business or campus and provide access to the internet at a high performance.
- Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN): A WPAN provides a personal network using Infrared (IR) and Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15) allowing a user to connect personal devices within a specific area (usually within 30 feet). IR requires a direct line-of-site and provides a lesser range.
- Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN): WMAN enables the connection of several networks within a metropolitan area (such as different buildings within the same city) and provides an alternative or backup to structured cabling.
- Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN): This type of network provides internet and network access over large areas (i.e., cities or countries) using satellite systems or antenna sites maintained by an ISP. They are also known as 2G or 2nd Generation systems.