by April 12, 2002 0 comments

Whether wireless LANs will flourish across the industry, become a niche market, or fade away remains to be seen. What matters now is to assess the technology to see whether it’s feasible to integrate it with your existing wired network. The benefits, applications, cost, security and health issues associated with it. That’s what our story is focused on this time

Look Ma, No Wires
Flexibility, mobility and scalability in networks are just a few of the benefits of wireless LANs
The Tech Behind Wireless LAN
The topologies, techniques and technologies used in wireless LANs
How Much Do I Spend?
Besides the equipment cost, you also need to get various clearances from government bodies, and pay annual license fees
Building Blocks for a Wireless LAN
What you need to do to get one up and running
The Standards’ Story
Of the plethora of standards in circulation, here’s an overview of the more popular ones 
Wireless LANs: How Secure, How Safe?
Can they be cracked easily? Do they cause cataract?

Carry your Personal Network
Wireless personal area networks work in short range to allow devices like cellphones, PDAs, and notebooks to interact with each other. Can the human body become part of this network?

The wireless LAN market has seen a lot of growth worldwide recently, thanks to the wide support it’s been receiving from the industry. Whether it’s the semiconductor manufacturers, who make chips for wireless devices, or the standardization bodies, who have laid out the guidelines for making wireless devices interoperable, they’ve all contributed extensively to its development. Wireless LANs have recently started becoming available in India, and will hopefully be as successful as they’ve been elsewhere. 

In this story, we look at the applications of wireless LAN implementations across the world, and the resulting benefits. We also look at how feasible it is to implement from the cost point of view, as well as understand the government regulations and licenses involved. We also take a roundup of the types of devices that are currently available, and which ones to expect in the future.

There are a lot of wireless standards floating around, and the most feasible for wireless LANs is the IEEE 802.11b, which allows a throughput of up to 11 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band. Other standards like Bluetooth, Infrared are being looked at for wireless at home and personal use, and the concept is known as WPANs (Wireless Personal Area Networks). It’s important for these various standards to be interoperable with each other if new applications for wireless are to be realized. Besides the benefits, various drawbacks of wireless LANs are also being observed. Security threats are still being claimed as a major issue with wireless networks. As data literally ‘flows through the air’, it becomes easier for a hacker to capture it with a notebook and a wireless card. 

However, it seems that wireless LAN technology is here to stay, so read on to see whether it will change the way you work.

Anil Chopra

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