title=Communications and Networking:Wireless Networks
Wireless networks are convenient ways that modern technology uses to create networks with low costs as there are almost no wires involved. Wireless access points (WAP) allow devices to connect to such networks. the network can continue to run as a normal network. There are two types of wireless network methods that AQA have said you need to be aware of; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These are both radio-based protocols that are used to create networks that users can transfer data over.
Wi-Fi (also written Wifi or WiFi) is a trademark name for a technology that allows devices to wirelessly access a local area network as well as data transfer. The Wi-Fi Alliance defines Wi-Fi as any wireless local area network (WLAN) products that use IEEE 802.11 standards. The IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Wi-Fi uses a radio wave frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz and 4.9 GHz to 5.8 GHz although allowed channels vary between countries. In Europe only 5.240-5.700 GHz of the 5 GHz frequency band is usable.
Devices connect to a Wi-Fi network by means of a wireless router or 'hotspot' which usually has an approximate range of 20 metres indoors and greater range outdoors. Because wireless is always less secure than wired, Wi-Fi is usually considered less secure than ethernet connection. Wi-Fi can be encrypted using either WEP, WPA or WPA2.
Bluetooth is a trademark name for a wireless technology with very short range. It can be used for data and media transfer between devices. The range of the radio wave frequency is 2.4 GHz to 2.485 GHz. The small range of Bluetooth (approximately 5 metres) means that the network is called a Personal Area Network (PAN). However it can also be categorised under a wireless local area network (WLAN).