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Wireless Networks’ Historical Development Research Paper


Abstract

This paper explores the historical development of wireless networks. The essay also gives a detailed analysis of the physical infrastructure associated with wireless networks. The benefits of this technology for business organizations are also discussed. Some of the issues encountered by Cisco Systems after implementing the use of the wireless network are also analyzed. The paper concludes by describing the implications of wireless networks for different emergency agencies and the police.

Wireless Networks

Overview of Wireless Networks

Cardei and Du define a wireless network as “any computer connection that uses wireless data” (334). This method is embraced because it reduces the costs associated with cable systems. The common wireless networks include Wi-Fi connections and cell-phones. The history of wireless networks is “founded on the development of the first wireless telegraph” (Cardei and Du 336). Concepts of data compression emerged after Claude Shannon published his work in 1948.

The first Terrestrial Microwave Telecommunication System was designed in 1950. By 1977, cellular systems had been launched in Washington. From 1970 to 1990, new developments emerged, thus leading to the first mobile phone. In 1998, Nokia, Intel, IBM, and Ericsson joined hands to develop the first Bluetooth (Stojmenovic 12). This achievement made it possible for humans to exchange wireless data. In 1999, Wi-Fi Alliance was established to develop new technologies for wireless local area networking (WLAN). These developments created the foundation for future wireless networks.

Types of Wireless Networks

Wireless Networks (WLANs) allow computer users in different areas to share information through the internet. There are different wireless networks that are designed to complete various tasks and duties. Wireless networks make it possible for individuals to share or access information and applications without the use of data cables. Wireless networking also delivers freedom of movement and the ability to share ideas across the globe (Stojmenovic 17). The major types of wireless connections are presented below.

Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)

This kind of wireless network allows computer users within a small environment, such as a campus, to have internet access (Stojmenovic 18). Three or more individuals can come together to form a common point of access. This network is used by individuals who want to share information within a small area.

Diagrammatic representation for a WLAN network.
Fig 1: Diagrammatic representation for a WLAN network.

Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)

WPANs are used by individuals to connect several devices. This should be done within a small area, such as a house or office. The “connection makes it easier for the user to have internet access” (Stojmenovic 32). New technologies such as OFDMs and spread-spectrum make it possible for users to access the internet within a wider circumference.

Wireless Mesh Network

This kind of wireless network is not widely used. The “network system is usually composed of radio nodes arranged to form a mesh typology” (Negus 2). The nodes work together to increase performance and efficiency. The networks have “the ability to reroute whereby a node can support those around it” (Negus 3).

Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (W-MAN)

Several WLANs can be interconnected to form a wider system. This kind of connection is given the name W-MAN (Stojmenovic 42). The WLAN connections within the system can share information and applications.

Wide Area Networks (W-MAN)

Wireless WAN is “a connection that covers a wide area” (Negus 4). A good example is a connection serving two neighboring suburbs or cities. A firm can use W-MAN to connect its businesses in different cities (Negus 4). This connection is characterized by several “access points, bridging relays, and Base Station Gateways” (Negus 4).

Space Network

This wireless network evolved due to the needs and issues associated with space exploration. The communication between spacecraft and control centers is essential. Spacecrafts are therefore fitted with Wireless Space Network (WSN) in order to relay information back to planet Earth (Hultell, Johansson, and Markendahl 2). A good example of this network is the one managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Global Area Network (GAN)

The current proliferation of technology has made it possible for different nations and continents to share information. The development of GAN makes global communication possible. GAN is, therefore, a connection aimed at supporting wireless data across the globe (Negus 6). The use of “terrestrial wireless LANS have been observed to promote communication over large coverage areas” (Stojmenovic 76).

Aspects of Wireless Technology

Every network connection is defined by various hardware components and software applications. Such components and devices make it easier for different organizations to be connected. Several components should be considered in order to have an effective wireless connection (Szabo, Horvath, and Farkas 3). This means that the system should have various aspects, such as hardware, software, protocols, and physical infrastructures.

Protocols

Stojmenovic defines “an internet protocol as a communications protocol within the internet suite that relays data-grams across networks” (82). This routing function is critical because it makes internetworking possible. This protocol is, therefore, can be described as the internet (Hultell et al. 3). That being the case, there are different protocols associated with the wireless network. For instance, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a powerful communications protocol used to network mobile phones. The other common protocol for wireless connections is Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is another protocol that has been in use since the 1990s. However, Bluetooth functions within a distance of fewer than 10 meters (Szabo et al. 6).

Hardware

Different hardware components should be utilized in order to have an effective wireless network. Some of the typical hardware devices or components utilized to support wireless networks include computers, switches, phone lines, and cables (Szabo et al. 6). The physical hardware should be organized effectively in order to ensure the system functions effectively. Every device on the network system should have an adapter (Hultell et al. 3).

This means that computers and devices capable of accessing wireless internet have such adapters. Wireless routers are also used to ensure wireless networks work effectively. Such routers work as access points for effective internet access. Wireless antennas are also useful because “they increase the capability of every wireless radio signal” (Szabo et al. 7). Wireless repeaters are also used to compose the hardware system of a wireless network. Such “repeaters offer two-way relay for radio signals” (Hultell et al. 3).

Physical Infrastructure

The physical infrastructure is critical towards ensuring the integrity of every network system. This infrastructure defines the physical layer of the network. The infrastructure therefore encompasses everything that makes connectivity possible. The infrastructure might include interconnected elements. These Network Elements (Nes) can be “assembled by a specified internet provider or be supplied by a manufacturer” (Hultell et al. 3). Many systems have numerous interconnected elements. Different components are required in order to complete the wireless network system. Such components include connectors, closures, and cables (Hultell et al. 6).

Physical infrastructure for wireless network.
Fig 2: Physical infrastructure for wireless network.

Features of Wireless Networks that Can Benefit a Business

Experts believe that business organizations can benefit from the use of wireless networks. This is the case because wireless network improves connectivity and boosts the level of productivity (Cardei and Du 338). Wireless connection makes it easier for different individuals to have access to different documents, resources, and emails. The features presented below can benefit many businesses.

Location Flexibility

Workers in a company that uses wireless network have uncontrolled access to the internet. They can access a wide range of applications, files, links, and documents thus improving the level of productivity. The workers can move from area A to B while having access to the internet (Szabo et al. 6). That being the case, the employees in the organization can collaborate in order to achieve the targeted results.

Mobile Connectivity

As mentioned earlier, wireless network is advantageous for businesses because employees can roam without losing connectivity. Some businesses can operate in regions that do not have access to wired internet connection. Wireless LAN can make it possible for companies to manage their inventories and operations. This opportunity makes it possible for businesses to operate effectively (Stojmenovic 93). Wireless access can be used to support the performance of different departments without using wired connections.

Reach and Coverage

Wireless network increases the level of coverage and reach. Individuals in an organization can access internet without having to move to a fixed computer. Employees can access different types of information from the main server (Hultell et al. 7). Colleagues and stakeholders will also benefit from the internet coverage. The increased level of mobility makes it possible for every worker to focus on the targeted business goals.

Adaptability

The other important aspect of wireless network is adaptability. Businesses can adapt new typologies depending on the anticipated traffic rates. The company can consider new infrastructures depending on the targeted changes and goals (Negus 6). New nodes can also be added in order to produce the targeted goals. The concept of adaptability therefore makes it possible for businesses to support the changing needs of their workers. New network demands are easily addressed using wireless connections.

Cost Effectiveness

The use of wireless technology is something that reduces costs for companies and businesses. Wired networks required numerous resources and skilled labor to implement. Such networks should also be maintained in order to function optimally. Unlike wired connections, wireless network is easy to maintain. The “system does not require extra costs to scale up” (Hultell et al. 7).

Case Study: Successful Implementation of Wireless Technology

Cisco Systems

The case study of Cisco Systems Incorporation shows how wireless network can support the goals of many businesses. Cisco implemented the use of wireless connections in 2000 (“Wireless Case Study: How Cisco WLAN Became Primary Corporate User Network” par. 3). The ultimate objective was to address the changing demands of many workers. The company wanted the use the technology to support the existing wired connections.

Within two years, more employees were using wireless connections to access the internet. The IT department conducted a study in 2005 to determine the unique aspects of wireless networking. The use of WLAN was observed to be beneficial. Consequently, the firm redesigned the wireless network to become the major access point (“Wireless Case Study: How Cisco WLAN Became Primary Corporate User Network” par. 4).

Several advantages were observed regarding the use of wireless network at Cisco Systems. For example, more people believed that WLAN was effective and easy to use. As well, the survey indicated that more employees became more productive than ever before. The productive time was observed to increase significantly thus making it possible for the firm to achieve its business goals (“Wireless Case Study: How Cisco WLAN Became Primary Corporate User Network” par. 2).

The company’s engineering and marketing departments recorded positive outcomes. This case study therefore shows clearly that employees can use wireless network to communicate with each other. The use of wireless network at Cisco is something that has continued to increase productivity.

Issues Faced

The company faced a number of issues before implementing the use of wireless network. The first issue to consider was the initial costs associated with the implementation process. The company spent a lot of money to implement the system. Cisco Systems has been designing and marketing a wide range of networking devices (“Wireless Case Study: How Cisco WLAN Became Primary Corporate User Network” par. 5).

This position made it easier for Cisco Systems to implement a powerful wireless network. The pioneers of the project also considered its feasibility. From the very beginning, the company used wired network to support its workers. In 2002, a survey was conducted to establish the major issues and opportunities associated with the use of wireless network. Cisco Systems decided to support and implement wireless network as the best mode of internet access in 2005. This move led to numerous benefits for the organization.

Effectiveness of Wireless Networks for Emergency Services and the Police

Wireless networks have been associated with exchange and sharing of information (Stojmenovic 41). Regions that have access to wireless networks can respond to emergencies within the shortest time possible. Cities with wireless networks make it easier for individuals to communicate with the relevant agencies whenever there is a disaster. Stojmenovic argues that “wireless connections improve the speed of response to various disasters or emergencies” (56). Individuals who have access to the internet can respond to various incidents within the shortest time possible.

Experts believe that wireless network is one of the best tools for dealing with various incidents. Emergency medical services (EMS) providers, firefighters, and the police play a significant role towards supporting the safety of many citizens (Negus 7). Wireless networks make it possible for these agencies to support the needs of different citizens. Individuals in a region with free wireless connection will be able to inform the right authorities. Wireless connections make it possible for responders to manage their resources and tools. They can also share their ideas with different stakeholders in order to respond to various emergencies.

The government should therefore provide cost-effective wireless connections to different cities and organizations. More people should also be sensitized about the importance of wireless networks. They should be ready to communicate with different emergency agencies in order to get the best support (Szabo et al. 6). This move will make it possible for different agencies and civilians to share information. Such agencies will get quality information that can be used to respond to different emergencies. This move has the potential to safeguard the lives of more people (Stojmenovic 87). Wireless networks are powerful lifesaving tools that can support the safety and health needs of more people in the country.

Works Cited

Cardei, Mihaela and Ding-Zhu Du. “Improving Wireless Sensor Network Lifetime through Power Aware Organization.” Wireless Networks 11.1 (2005): 333-340. Print.

Hultell, Johan, Klas Johansson and Jan Markendahl 2013, Business models and resource management for shared wireless networks. Web.

Negus, Kevin. “History of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) in the Unlicensed Bands.” Information Economy Project 1.1 (2008): 1-13. Print.

Stojmenovic, Ivan. Handbook of Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing. New York: Wiley, 2002. Print.

Szabo, Csaba, Zolta Horvath and Karoly Farkas 2014, Wireless Community Networks: Motivations, Design and Business Models. Web.

Wireless Case Study: How Cisco WLAN Became Primary Corporate User Network 2016. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Wireless Networks' Historical Development." September 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wireless-networks-historical-development/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Wireless Networks' Historical Development'. 8 September.

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