Wireless Networks How Do They Work

Wireless Networks: How Do They Work?
Wireless networks use radio waves instead of​ wires to​ transmit data between computers .​
Here's how:
The Binary Code: 1s and​ 0s
It's well known that computers transmit information digitally, using binary code: ones and​ zeros .​
This translates well to​ radio waves, since those 1s and​ 0s can be represented by different kinds of​ beeps .​
These beeps are so fast that they're outside the​ hearing range of​ humans.
Morse Code: Dots and​ Dashes
It works like Morse code, which is​ a​ way to​ transmit the​ alphabet over radio waves using dots (short beeps) and​ dashes (long beeps) .​
Morse code was used manually for​ years via telegraph to​ get information from 1 place to​ another very quickly .​
More importantly for​ this example, though, it​ is​ a​ binary system, just as​ a​ computer system is.
Wireless networking, then, can be thought of​ as​ a​ Morse code for​ computers .​
You plug in​ a​ combined radio receiver and​ transmitter, and​ the​ computer is​ able to​ send out its equivalent of​ dots and​ dashes (bits, in​ computer-speak) to​ get your data from here to​ there.
Wavelengths and​ Frequencies
You might wonder how the​ computer can send and​ receive data at​ high speed without becoming garbled nonsense .​
The key to​ wireless networking is​ how it​ gets around this problem.
First, wireless transmissions are sent at​ very high frequencies, which allows more data to​ be sent per second .​
Most wireless connections use a​ frequency of​ 2.4 gigahertz (2.4 billion cycles per second) -- a​ frequency similar to​ mobile phones and​ microwave ovens .​
However, this high frequency produces a​ wavelength that is​ very short, which is​ why wireless networking is​ effective only over short distances.
Wireless networks also use a​ technique called frequency hopping .​
They use dozens of​ frequencies, and​ constantly switch among them .​
This makes wireless networks more immune to​ interference from other radio signals than if​ they transmitted on a​ single frequency.
Internet Access Points
The final step for​ a​ wireless network is​ to​ provide internet access for​ every computer on the​ network .​
This is​ done by a​ special piece of​ wireless equipment called an​ access point .​
An access point is​ more expensive than a​ wireless card for​ 1 computer, because it​ contains radios capable of​ communicating with around 100 computers, sharing internet access among them .​
Dedicated access points are necessary only for​ larger networks .​
With only a​ few computers, it​ is​ possible to​ use 1 of​ them as​ the​ access point, or​ to​ use a​ wireless router.
Industry Standards
Wireless equipment from different manufacturers can work together to​ handle these complex communications because there are standards which guide the​ production of​ all wireless devices .​
These standards are technically called the​ 802.11 .​
Because of​ industry compliance with these standards, wireless networking is​ both easy to​ use and​ affordable today.
Wireless is​ Simple To Use
If all this talk of​ frequencies has you worried -- relax .​
Wireless networking hardware and​ software handle all of​ this automatically, without need for​ user intervention .​
Wireless networking, for​ all its complicated ability, is​ far simpler to​ use than you might expect.

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