In telecommunications, wireless communication may be used to transfer information over short distances (a few meters as in television remote control) or long distances (thousands or millions of kilometers for radio communications). The term is often shortened to "wireless". It encompasses various types of fixed, mobile, and portable two-way radios, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wireless networking. Other examples of wireless technology include GPS units, garage door openers and or garage doors, wirelesscomputer mice, keyboards and headsets, satellite television and cordless telephones.
Wireless operations permits services, such as long range communications, that are impossible or impractical to implement with the use of wires. The term is commonly used in the telecommunications industry to refer to telecommunications systems (e.g. radio transmitters and receivers, remote controls, computer networks, network terminals, etc.) which use some form of energy (e.g. radio frequency (RF), infraredlight, laser light, visible light, acoustic energy, etc.) to transfer information without the use of wires. Information is transferred in this manner over both short and long distances.
The term "wireless" has become a generic and all-encompassing word used to describe communications in which electromagnetic waves or RF (rather than some form of wire) carry a signal over part or the entire communication path. Common examples of wireless equipment in use today include:
§ Professional LMR (Land Mobile Radio) and SMR (Specialized Mobile Radio) typically used by business, industrial and Public Safety entities.
§ Consumer Two way radio including FRS Family Radio Service, GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and Citizens band ("CB") radios.
§ The Amateur Radio Service (Ham radio).
§ Consumer and professional Marine VHF radios.
§ Cellular telephones and pagers: provide connectivity for portable and mobile applications, both personal and business.
§ Global Positioning System (GPS): allows drivers of cars and trucks, captains of boats and ships, and pilots of aircraft to ascertain their location anywhere on earth.
§ Cordless computer peripherals: the cordless mouse is a common example; keyboards and printers can also be linked to a computer via wireless.
§ Cordless telephone sets: these are limited-range devices, not to be confused with cell phones.
§ Satellite television: Is broadcast from satellites in geostationary orbit. Typical services use digital broadcasting to provide multiple channels to viewers.
Wireless networking (i.e. the various types of unlicensed 2.4 GHz WiFi devices) is used to meet many needs. Perhaps the most common use is to connect laptop users who travel from location to location. Another common use is for mobile networks that connect via satellite. A wireless transmission method is a logical choice to network a LAN segment that must frequently change locations. The following situations justify the use of wireless technology:
§ To span a distance beyond the capabilities of typical cabling,
§ To provide a backup communications link in case of normal network failure,
§ To link portable or temporary workstations,
§ To overcome situations where normal cabling is difficult or financially impractical, or
§ To remotely connect mobile users or networks.
Wireless communication can be via:
§ radio frequency communication,
§ microwave communication, for example long-range line-of-sight via highly directional antennas, or short-range communication, or
§ infrared (IR) short-range communication, for example from remote controls or via Infrared Data Association (IrDA).
Applications may involve point-to-point communication, point-to-multipoint communication, broadcasting, cellular networks and other wireless networks.
The term "wireless" should not be confused with the term "cordless", which is generally used to refer to powered electrical or electronic devices that are able to operate from a portable power source (e.g. a battery pack) without any cable or cord to limit the mobility of the cordless device through a connection to the mains power supply.
Some cordless devices, such as cordless telephones, are also wireless in the sense that information is transferred from the cordless telephone to the telephone's base unit via some type of wireless communications link. This has caused some disparity in the usage of the term "cordless", for example in Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications.
APPLICATIONS OF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
Wireless technology may supplement or replace hard wired implementations in security systems for homes or office buildings.
Cellular telephone (phones and modems)
Perhaps the best known example of wireless technology is the cellular telephone and modems. These instruments use radio waves to enable the operator to make phone calls from many locations worldwide. They can be used anywhere that there is a cellular telephone site to house the equipment that is required to transmit and receive the signal that is used to transfer both voice and data to and from these instruments.
Main article: Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network that enables portable computing devices to connect easily to the Internet. Standardized as IEEE 802.11 a,b,g,n, Wi-Fi approaches speeds of some types of wired Ethernet. Wi-Fi hot spots have been popular over the past few years. Some businesses charge customers a monthly fee for service, while others have begun offering it for free in an effort to increase the sales of their goods.
Wireless energy transfer
Main article: Wireless energy transfer
Wireless energy transfer is a process whereby electrical energy is transmitted from a power source to an electrical load that does not have a built-in power source, without the use of interconnecting wires.
Computer interface devices
Answering the call of customers frustrated with cord clutter, many manufactures of computer peripherals turned to wireless technology to satisfy their consumer base. Originally these units used bulky, highly limited transceivers to mediate between a computer and a keyboard and mouse, however more recent generations have used small, high quality devices, some even incorporating Bluetooth. These systems have become so ubiquitous that some users have begun complaining about a lack of wired peripherals.Wireless devices tend to have a slightly slower response time than their wired counterparts, however the gap is decreasing. Initial concerns about the security of wireless keyboards have also been addressed with the maturation of the technology.