PRODUCTS

RF COMPONENTS & APPS

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What is a Wireless Network?

 

A wireless network is very similar to a wired network, the only thing that's missing are the cables that are used in a wired network that connect PCs and laptops to the switch (or Access Point/CPE/WiFi router in the case of a wireless network). Like wired Ethernet networks, 802.11x based wireless networks communicate via the Internet Protocol (IP). The end result is the same, PC and laptop access to the internet, printers, and servers. Additionally, 802.11 networks provide wireless access for devices such as smart phones and tablets.

Access Point/CPE Overview
An access point or Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) performs the function of connecting wireless users (and other wireless networks) to a wired router or wired WLAN controller. Most modern access points or CPEs can be confi gured for several modes of operation.

Access Point (AP) Mode:
Allows wireless equipment such as a Smart Phone or Laptop to be connected to a wired network. In this mode the CPE unit is typically connected to a router on a wired network. The CPE unit provides security features that allow only select wireless devices to connect to it.

Wireless Client Mode:
In this mode the CPE unit connects to another active access point as if it were a wireless device like a Laptop. Once connected it can provide network/internet connectivity to wired devices without wireless functionality via the CPE's Ethernet port.

Bridge Mode:
Wireless bridge mode is used to connect two or more network segments that are physically separated. Using the WDS settings, only the selected CPEs can communicate with each other and will deny access to other wireless devices trying to access them. Bridges can be used in Point-to-Point (connecting two commercial buildings) or Point-to-Multipoint (connecting multiple buildings on a college campus) applications.

Repeater Mode:
This mode is used to extend the range of an existing access point. This mode is also ideal when an obstruction is preventing wireless connectivity within a select area. Repeaters are commonly used when providing wireless connectivity to multi-story buildings and large homes.

 

802.11 Wireless Standards

 

IEEE Standard 802.11a 802.11b 802.11g 802.11n 802.11ac (Draft)
Year Released 1999 1999 2003 2009 2011 (Draft)
Frequency 5 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz 2.4/5 GHz 5 GHz
Max. Data Rate 54 Mbps 11 Mbps 54 Mbps 600 Mbps >1 Gbps
Typical Range Indoors 30m 30m 40m 70m  
Typical Range Outdoors 120m 140m 140m 250m