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Wireless Communications

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Wireless communication involves transmitting signals through air and space using radio waves. Wireless spectrum is allocated by governments and international organizations. For example, in the United States, the 800-MHz frequency range is allocated for cellular voice communications. The higher the radio frequency, the greater the bandwidth and data carrying capacity of the wireless system. However, as frequency is increased in a system, its characteristics become more directional (line of site) and the signals are more susceptible to atmospheric conditions such as rain and fog.

Wireless technologies are used to build LANs within building and LANs that bridge buildings. They are also used to provide high-speed access to the Internet or to build metropolitan area networks. Wireless mobile systems with very high data-rates are emerging that allow mobile users to operate as if they are attached to traditional wired networks. A variety of technologies are discussed under various topics listed on the related entries page.

The United States FCC Web site provides useful information on wireless spectrum allocation. You can refer to the following Web sites for information on cellular radiotelephone services, general wireless communications services, microwave services, PCS (Personal Communications Service), and others.

United States FCC (Federal Communications Commission)

FCC WTB (Wireless Telecommunications Bureau)

WTB Directory of Wireless Communication Services

History of Wire and Broadcast Communication

You'll find addition wireless topics under the following headings:

  • Home Networking    Discusses methods for networking homes, including wireless systems

  • Microwave Communications    Discusses wireless systems than operate in different parts of the microwave spectrum, including terrestrial and satellite systems

  • Mobile Computing    Describes mobile computing technologies

  • Packet Radio Data Networks    Describes services offered by nationwide radio data communication services, including short messaing services

  • Satellite Communication Systems    Discusses the different types of Earth-orbiting communication systems

  • Wireless Broadband Access Technologies    Discusses technologies that essentially provide wireless local loop services, i.e., wireless access for home and business users to carrier and service provider networks

  • Wireless IP    Discusses mobile wireless technologies that allow portable IP devices to access the Internet and corporate networks

  • Wireless LANs    Radio communications for mobile users within a local area and point-to-point connections between buildings and company sites within a campus or metropolitan area

  • Wireless Mobile Communications    Radio communication over public carrier facilities using packet radio, cellular networks, and satellite stations for users who are "out of the office" and "on the road"

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