A wireless network or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
A wireless network or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) serves the same purpose as a wired one — to link a group of computers.
A wireless network or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) serves the same purpose as a wired one — to link a group of computers. Because “wireless” doesn’t require costly wiring, the main benefit is that it’s generally easier, faster and cheaper to set up.
By comparison, creating a network by pulling wires throughout the walls and ceilings of an office can be labor-intensive and thus expensive. But even when you have a wired network already in place, a wireless network can be a cost-effective way to expand or augment it. In fact, there’s really no such thing as a purely wireless network, because most link back to a wired network at some point.
Wireless networks operate using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space.
The cornerstone of a wireless network is a device known as an access point (AP). The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and “tune” into. Since wireless networks are usually connected to wired ones, an access point also often serves as a link to the resources available on the a wired network, such as an Internet connection.
In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers must be equipped with wireless network adapters. These are often built right into the computer, but if not, just about any computer or notebook can be made wireless-capable through the use of an add-on adapter plugged into an empty expansion slot, USB port, or in the case of notebooks, a PC Card slot.