Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
The most common fixed wireless application is the popular wireless local area network (WLAN) replacing common connections previously made by cable. Cable provides an excellent transmission media and supports data rates in the tens and hundreds of millions of bits per second. There are applications, however, that cannot use cable or are prohibitively expensive if cable is used.

Figure 1 shows product that are typically used in a WLAN system. This WLAN system includes radio access ports and extension ports. The extension ports shown in figure 1 are PCMCIA cards that plug into a laptop computer. These extension ports communicate via radio-to-radio access ports. The radio access ports convert the WLAN radio signal back into computer network signals (such as Ethernet or token ring).

Figure 1: Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

Other WLAN applications, like point-of-sale terminals in the ever-changing retail environment make wireless access more cost-effective than cabled access. Mobile inventory scanning in warehouses tie WLANs to a wireless scanner. Some building architectures make cable installation prohibitively expensive, WLANs are well suited for these types of applications.

Often, Infrared (IR) light energy is used for point-to-point computer connections, because IR cannot pass through walls, ceilings, or floors. This is considered an advantage because it enhances the security of a WLAN link and decreases interference between other nearby WLANs.

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