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Wireless Communications

Explain how the major wireless technologies are

used today - WiFi
Describe the applications used in wireless
List and explain the advantages of wireless
List and explain the disadvantages of wireless
Wireless the hype?

Wireless communications is the next major event in

the history of technology

Wireless communications will revolutionize how we


Users will be able to access digital resources no

matter where they find themselves
How Wireless Technology
Is Used

Wireless refers to any device that does not use


Wireless communications refers to the

transmission of user data without wires
Wireless Applications

Wireless applications are found anywhere

employees need mobility, including in the
following industries:
Warehouse management
Health care
Wireless Communications in Industries

Educationclassrooms, presentations, libraries,

access anywhere on campus
MilitaryUniversal Handset, a 1.5 lb. device
allows full motion video, cellular and satellite
communications, and Internet access
Businessoffice space where traditional
infrastructure does not exist, such as conference
room or hotel room
Wireless Communications in Industries

Entertainmentbarcodes on tickets validated by

handheld readers; fans accessing game statistics,
watching replays, ordering concessions through
notebook computers or PDAs
Travelglobal positioning systems (GPS)
providing emergency roadside assistance; airline
passengers using wireless notebooks or PDAs
Wireless Communications in Industries

Constructionscheduling construction phases and

employee travel, completing payroll, diagnosing
Warehouse Managementinventory, shipping,
reading bar-coded pallet labels
Health Caretracking dispensed medicine,
verifying patients bar-coded armbands, accessing
patient records
Current Wireless Systems

Fixed Wireless Access (last mile)

Wide Area Wireless Data Services (WWANs)
Cellular Systems
Satellite Systems & Paging Systems
HomeRF (SWAP) (now dead?)
Wireless LANs (WiFi)

Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP) defines

wireless computer networks
Allows wireless data and voice communication from
distances up to 150 feet at speeds up to 10 million bits
per second (megabits or Mbps)
Established by HomeRF Working Group, comprised of
over 50 different companies
Uses wireless home networking adapter that sends data
over radio waves throughout the home, as seen in
Figure 1-1
Home Wireless Network

Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP), Home RF

is an open industry specification that allows wireless
devices to share information around home
Operates in license-free 2.4 GHz frequency and uses
frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS)
Provides quality-of-service (QoS) that prioritizes time-
sensitive transmissions
Version 1.0, introduced in 2000, transmits at
1.6 Mbps, but version 2.0, released in 2001, transmits at
10 Mbps

Uses devices with small radio transceivers, called radio

modules, built onto microprocessor chips
Special software, called a link manager, identifies other
Bluetooth devices, creates links with them, and sends and
receives data
Transmits at up to 1 Mbps over a distance of 33 feet and is
not impeded by physical barriers
Bluetooth products created by over 1500 computer,
telephone, and peripheral vendors
Bluetooth Headset

The Bluetooth
establishes a
with the telephone

Two or more Bluetooth devices that send and

receive data make up a personal area network
(PAN), also called a piconet
Figure 1-3 shows a Bluetooth network

Bluetooth was named after the 10th

century Danish King Harold
Bluetooth, who was responsible for
unifying Scandinavia
Bluetooth Network
Network Topology

Two types of Bluetooth network topologies

Scatternet (collection of piconets)
Two Bluetooth devices within range automatically
One device is the master, controlling all wireless traffic
The other is the slave, taking commands from the

A piconet is one
master and at
least one slave
using the same
An active slave is
A passive slave is
not actually
Bluetooth Issues

Many challenges face Bluetooth

Limited support
Shortcomings in protocol itself
Positioning in marketplace
Conflicts with other devices in radio spectrum

Chips have decreased in price to about $15 from a

high of over $75
Not advantageous to replace a $7 cable with a $15 chip
Many think cost must come down to about
$5 before Bluetooth reaches competitive advantage
Limited Support

Bluetooth is caught in chicken or egg scenario

Because of low market penetration, Bluetooth is not
fully supported by hardware and software vendors
Users reluctant to purchase technology that is not fully
Microsoft is straddling the fence
Provides Bluetooth support for Pocket PC 2002
Does not support Bluetooth in Windows XP
Protocol Limitations

Major limitation is no hand-off between piconets

Unlike cell phone switching, Bluetooth connection is
broken and must be restored with new master when
device moves from one piconet area to another
Bluetooth provides less than optimal security by
authenticating devices instead of users
Devices cannot determine how function of other devices
can be used in cooperating setting
Market Position

Current position is between IEEE 802.11x

WLANs and cell phones
WLAN is preferred technology for connecting wireless
devices to form network
WLAN is mature, robust, flexible, popular technology
Trend today is fewer devices instead of more, and cell
phones have integrated capabilities that Bluetooth lacks
Spectrum Conflict

The 2.4 GHz band that Bluetooth uses conflicts

with IEEE 802.11b WLANs
WLAN may drop connection when detects another
device sharing its frequency
Most obvious fix is moving Bluetooth device away
from WLAN
Many vendors offer products that let Bluetooth and
802.11b WLANs share spectrum
New 802.11a WLAN standard uses a different
frequency, eliminating the conflict
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

Based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronic

Engineers (IEEE) 802.11b networking standard
WLAN computers transmit up to 11 Mbps at
distances of 375 feet
IEEE 802.11a standard increases bandwidth to 54
Figure 1-8 shows a WLAN warehouse network
802.11 often called wireless ethernet
WLAN Warehouse Network
WLAN Applications

Almost nonexistent until 2000, WLANs have

experienced astonishing growth, with sales
expected to top $34 billion by 2004
WLANs have broad range of uses including
colleges and schools, businesses, airports,
warehouses, shopping malls, and stadiums
WLANs have taken the world by storm and the
list of users grows daily
How WLANs Operate

Although a variety of radio frequency WLANs

exist, different products share similarities and
operate similarly
Only two components are required for a wireless
Wirelessnetwork interface (NIC) cards
Access points (AP)
Wireless NIC and
Access Point (AP)

Each computer on WLAN uses wireless network

interface card (NIC) with built-in antenna
Wireless NIC sends signals through radio waves
to a fixed access point (AP)
AP point may be attached to a wired LAN
Figure 1-9 shows an AP and wireless NIC

WLANs also used in office environments, as

shown in Figure 1-10
Access Point and Wireless NIC
Office WLAN
Wireless Network
Interface Card

NIC connects computer to network so it can send

and receive data
On wired network, NIC has a port for a cable
connector, as seen in Figure 6-1
On wireless network, the NIC has an antenna to
send and receive RF signals
NIC changes internal data from parallel to serial,
divides data into packets with sending and receiving
addresses, determines when to send packet, and
transmits packet
Integrated Wireless NICs

Some vendors plan integrating components of

wireless NIC onto single chip on motherboard
Some notebook manufacturers will integrate
wireless NIC into top of notebook behind LCD
Thiswill keep RF waves away from
Software for Wireless NICs

Software may be part of operating system itself

Windows XP has software integrated while previous
versions of Windows do not
Software may be separate program loaded into the
All operating systems before Windows XP, including
Linux, require loading software
Operating systems for PDAs may soon integrate
software to recognize a wireless NIC
Access Point

An access point (AP) has

three main parts
An antenna and a radio
An RJ-45 wired network
interface to connect to a
wired network
Special bridging software
Access Point
Functions of an
Access Point

Access point has two basic functions

Acts as base station for wireless network
Acts as bridge between wireless and wired network
Bridges are LAN connectors at MAC level

See Figure 6-7

Access Point as a Bridge
Characteristics of an Access Point

Range approximately 375 feet (115 meters)

Generally supports over 100 users
One access point for each 50 users with light email and
basic Internet access
One access point per 20 users for heavy network access
and large file transfer
APs typically mounted on ceiling, but AC power may be a
Power over Ethernet feature delivers DC power through
standard unshielded twisted pair (UTP) Ethernet cable
Ad Hoc Mode

Ad Hoc Mode or peer-to-peer mode lets wireless

clients communicate among themselves without an
access point
Officially called Independent Basic Services Set
(IBSS), this mode is easy to set up, but it does not have
access to a wired network
See Figure 6-8
Ad Hoc Mode
Infrastructure Mode

Infrastructure Mode, also called Basic Service Set

(BSS), has wireless clients and an access point
More access points can be added to create an
Extended Service Set (ESS)
See Figure 6-9
Extended Service Set (ESS)
Features of Access Points

Coverage area should overlap when using multiple

access points
Wireless clients survey radio frequencies to find an AP
that provides better service
A seamless handoff occurs when client associates with
new AP
ESS and Subdivided Networks

Drawback of ESS WLANs is that all wireless

clients and APs must be part of same network to
allow roaming
Network managers like to subdivide networks into
subnets, but this prevents clients from roaming
Alternativemay be software that tricks network into
seeing subnets as one network
Wireless Gateway

Devices that follow 802.11 standard are becoming

less expensive and more popular
Wireless Gateway has made future of HomeRF
very shaky
Wireless gateway has wireless access point,
Network Address Translator (NAT) router,
firewall, connections for DSL and cable modems,
and other features
IEEE 802.11

Introduced in 1990
Defines cable-free local area network with either
fixed or mobile locations that transmit at either 1
or 2 Mbps
Uses OSI model with functions of PHY and MAC
layer performing WLAN features
See Figure 6-10
Slow bandwidth insufficient for most network
WLAN features in PHY and MAC layers
IEEE 802.11b

1999 amendment to 802.11 standard

Added two higher speeds: 5.5 and 11 Mbps
Called Wi-Fi
Quickly became standard for WLANs
Wireless changes to layers

Data Link
Physical Layer

Physical layer that sends and receives signals

from network is divided into two parts
See Figure 6-11
Physical Medium Dependent (PMD) sublayer defines how
data is transmitted and received
through the medium
Physical Layer Convergence Procedure (PLCP) performs two
basic functions, as seen in Figure 6-12
Reformats data into frame PMD sublayer can transmit
Listens to determine when data can be sent
PHY Sublayers
PLCP Sublayer
Physical Layer Convergence Procedure

Based on direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS)

Reformats data from MAC layer into frame that
PMD sublayer can transmit
See Figure 6-13
Frame has three parts
Preamble and Header transmit at 1 Mbps
Data portion, containing from 1 to 16,384 bits, may be
sent at faster rate
PLCP Frame
Physical Medium Dependent Standards

Frame created by PLCP passes to PMD sublayer

where binary 1s and 0s are translated into radio
signals for transmission
802.11b standard uses Industrial, Scientific, and
Medical (ISM) band for transmissions
May use 14 frequencies, beginning at 2.412 GHz and
incrementing in .005 GHz steps
See Table 6-1
802.11b ISM Channels
Medium Access Control Layer Changes

802.11 Data Link layer has two sublayers

Logical Link Control (LLC), used in 802.11b wireless
networks with no change from wired network functions
Media Access control (MAC) contains all changes
necessary for 802.11b WLANs
Two Kinds of Coordination

Coordination necessary among devices sharing

same RF spectrum
Two kinds of coordination
Distributedcoordination function is 802.11b standard
Point coordination function is optional
Distributed Coordination Function

Channel access methods refer to different ways of

Computers compete for use of network
May cause collisions that result in scrambled messages,
as seen in Figure 6-14
Must first listen to be sure no other device is

802.3 Ethernet standard uses contention with

listening as channel access method
Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection
After a collision, each computer waits a random
amount of time, called backoff
interval, before attempting to resend
See Figure 6-15
Distributed Coordination Function (DCF)

802.11b wireless networks cannot use CSMA/CD

because radio signals drown out ability to detect
802.11b uses Distributed Coordination Function
(DCF) with modified procedure known as Carrier
Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance
Following collision, clients wait random amount of slot
time after medium is clear
This technique helps reduce collisions
Packet Acknowledgement (ACK)

CSMA/CA also reduces collisions by using

explicit packet acknowledgement (ACK)
Receiving client must send back to sending client an
acknowledgement packet showing that packet arrived
If ACK frame is not received by sending client, data
packet is transmitted again after random waiting time
Figure 6-16 illustrates CSMA/CA
Point Coordination Function

Polling, an orderly channel access method, prevents

collisions by requiring device to get permission
before transmitting
Each computer is asked in sequence if it wants
to transmit, as shown in Figure 6-18
802.11b uses an optional polling function known as
Point Coordination Function (PCF)
Beacon frame indicates how long PCF will be used
If client has nothing to transmit, it returns a null data
Association and Reassociation

MAC layer uses association and reassociation to

make sure client joins WLAN and stays connected
Uses either active or passive scanning process
Passive scanning has client listen for signal

containing APs Service Set Identifier (SSID

Active scanning has client send out probe frame

and wait for probe response frame from AP

After locating AP, client sends associate request
frame and may join network after receiving frame
with status code and client ID number

Reassociation involves dropping connection with one

access point and establishing connection with another AP
Allows mobile clients to roam beyond coverage area of
single AP
Allows client to find new AP if original one becomes weak
or has interference
Client scans to find new AP and sends reassociation
request frame
New AP then sends disassociation frame to
old AP as shown in Figure 6-19
Reassociation Process
MAC Frame Formats

802.11b specifies three different MAC frame

Management framesset up initial communication
between client and AP, as
seen in Figure 6-21
Control framesprovide assistance in delivering frame
that contains data, as seen
in Figure 6-22
Data framescarry information to be transmitted to
destination client, as seen in Figure 6-23
Management Frame
Control Frame
Data Frame
High Speed WLANs

Three standards for high-speed WLANs that

transmit at speeds over 15 Mbps
IEEE 802.11a
IEEE 802.11g

All WLANs are concerned with security

How to prevent unauthorized access
IEEE 802.11a

Approved in 1999, 802.11a transmits at speeds of 5.5

Mbps and 11 Mbps
Great demand for 802.11a WLANS, also called Wi-Fi5,
with maximum speed of 54 Mbps
Devices use gallium arsenide (GaAs) or silicon germanium
(SiGe) rather than CMOS semiconductors
Increased speed achieved by higher frequency, more
transmission channels, multiplexing techniques, and more
efficient error-correction

Radio Frequency (RF) wireless local area networks

(WLANs) have wide range of uses
Wireless NIC performs same functions as wired
NIC, but it uses antenna to send and receive signals
Wireless NIC may be PCI (Peripheral Component
Interface) expansion card for desktop PC, Type II
PC Card for notebook computer, or Compact Flash
(CF) Card for smaller device like PDA

Access point (AP) contains three major parts

Radio transmitter/receiver
RJ-45 interface to connect by cable to standard wired
network by using special bridging software
AP has two basic functions
Acts as base station for wireless network
Acts as bridge between wireless and wired networks

RF WLAN sends and receives data in two

different modes
Ad hoc mode lets wireless clients communicate among
themselves without an access point
Basic Service Set (BSS) infrastructure mode consists of
wireless clients and at least one access point
Can add more access points to increase coverage
area and create Extended Basic Service Set (ESS),
consisting of two or more BSS wireless networks

HomeRF, also known as Shared Wireless Access

Protocol (SWAP) defines how wireless devices
such as computers and cordless phones can share
and communicate around the home
Home RF version 1.0 products, introduced in 2000,
transmit at 1.6 Mbps
Version 2.0, released in 2001, transmits at 10 Mbps

IEEE 802.11 standard defines wireless network,

either mobile or fixed, that transmits up to 2 Mbps
Much too slow for most network applications
IEEE 802.11b standard quickly became standard for
wireless networks when it added two higher speeds:
5.5 Mbps and 11 Mbps
Physical Layer Convergence Procedure Standard
(PLCP) for 802.11b uses direct sequence spread
spectrum (DSSS)

The PLCP reformats data from MAC layer into

frame that PMD sublayer can transmit.
Frame has three parts: preamble, header, and data
802.11b uses Industrial, Scientific, and Medical
(ISM) band for transmission at
11, 5.5, 2, or 1 Mbps

802.11b uses Distributed Coordination Function

(DCF) access method that specifies a modified
Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision
Avoidance (CSMA/CA) procedure
CDMA/CA makes all clients wait random amount of
time following collision
Reduces collisions by using explicit packet
acknowledgements (ACK)

MAC layer of 802.11b standard uses association

and reassociation to allow client to join WLAN
and stay connected
Association uses either passive or active scanning to
determines whether wireless client or access point
should be accepted as part of
Reassociation means client drops connection with one
access point and reestablishes connection with another

802.11b defines power management to conserve

battery power without missing data transmissions
802.11b specifies three different types of MAC
frame formats
Management frames set up communications between
client and access point
Control frames assist in delivering data frames
Data frames carry information being transmitted

802.11 standard defines three different interframe

spaces (PFS) or time gaps
Rather than being dead space, these standard spacing
intervals or time gaps between transmission of data
frames are used for special types of transmissions
The Wireless Landscape

Wireless communication is standard means of

communication for people in many occupations
and circumstances
Table 1-1 summarizes wireless technologies,
transmission distance, and speed
Figure 1-14 shows a wireless landscape
Job market to support wireless technology is
already exploding
Wireless Technologies
The Wireless Landscape
Wireless Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
Mobility Health risks ?
Easier and less Radio signal
expensive Interference
installation Security
Increased reliability
Disaster recovery
Wireless Advantages

Mobilityemployees have contact with network;

work in teams for better productivity
Easier and less expensive installationno need to
install cables or modify historical property; easy to
remodel office without concern for network access
Increased reliabilityno outages caused by cable
Disaster recoveryeasy to relocate office quickly
using WLANs and laptop computers
Wireless Disadvantages

Health risks?devices emit small levels of RF

FDAinconclusive about safety of wireless
FCC, FDA, and EPA set exposure guidelines for
wireless phones in 1996; Specific Absorption Rate
(SAR) of no more than 1.6 watts per kilogram
Radio signal interference--other devices interfere
Securitysome wireless technologies add
security such as encryption or coded numbers for
authorization to gain access to the network
Wireless Performance Gap


100 M ATM 100,000 ATM

10,000 FDDI 10,000
wired- wireless
Ethernet bit-rate "gap"
1000 User 1000 User wired- wireless
Bit-Rate Bit-Rate ISDN bit-rate "gap"
(kbps) 2nd gen (kbps)
100 WLAN 100 28.8 modem
1st gen 32 kbps
Polling WLAN 9.6 modem PCS
10 10 14.4
9.6 cellular digital
Packet 2.4 modem cellular
1 1 2.4 cellular

.1 .1

.01 .01
1970 1980 1990 2000 1970 1980 1990 2000

Wireless communications, including Internet

connections and networks, are becoming standard
in business world
SWAP connects different devices for home users
Quickly becoming obselete
Bluetooth connects some devices over short
WLANs WiFi 802.11 family

WLANS are fixture of business networks

WLAN applications found in wide variety
of industries and organizations
Primary advantage of WLAN is mobility
or freedom to move without being connected by a
Other advantages include easier and less
expensive installation, increased network
reliability, and support for disaster recovery