How it Works?
Wireless technology works much the same way a mobile phone works: airwaves, instead of wires, are used to carry data from one point to another. There are limitations to where you can access the Internet- you must be within range of an access point, the part of a wireless network that transmits data to your computer.
To learn more about the different types of wireless networks, click on the scenarios below.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) -
A WLAN creates a range that can reach up to 300 feet. You can connect to a WLAN from your office or public access facilities.
Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) -
A wireless PAN device commonly has a range of up to 100 feet, freeing you from the limitations of wires and cords.
Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) -
A WWAN's range can reach up to 20 miles, offering users a way to stay connected while they're on the move, away from other network infrastructure.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)
In a Wireless Local Area Network, a radio communications device called an access point connects network computers. The access point is small and lightweight with an antenna attached to it that sends data back and forth over the airwaves. The illustration above shows how a WLAN works in a typical office environment.
A single access point, like the TrueMobile 2300 Wireless Broadband Router, has a range that can reach up to 300 feet (100 meters). (Range and speed will vary according to environmental and other factors.) The TrueMobile 1170 Enterprise Access Point can extend the range of a WLAN.
Desktops use a TrueMobile_ 1180 USB Wireless Network Adapter, Handheld devices use a Compact Flash solution while laptops access wireless networks through integrated wireless Mini-PCI cards and external network PC cards. Wireless-ready products from Dell include:
Wireless LANs are becoming more commonplace in public-access facilities, where users can reach speeds up to 11Mbps (based on IEEE 802.11b and Wi-Fi standards). To access a wireless LAN from a public place, you'll need an account with a wireless Internet service provider (ISP), like T-Mobile. Your wireless ISP can provide you with a list of places, called "hotspots", that are part of the same wireless LAN you access through your account. These hotspots contain access points that send out signals to the wireless network card in your laptop or PDA. (Range and speed will vary according to environmental and other factors.)
Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN)
With a Wireless Personal Area Network, you can:
- Connect your system to a printer
- Sync a PDA
- Download images from a digital camera
- Transfer MP3 files
- Connect to a Bluetooth enabled Mobile Phone
- Connect to another Bluetooth enabled PC
A PAN device usually has a range of up to 160 feet (50 meters).
Bluetooth is an emerging standard in Personal Area Networks, allowing the transmission of data between devices such as cellular phones, handheld devices like the Dell Axim Pocket PC and laptop or desktop computers through short-range radio waves. With Bluetooth technology, you can complete business tasks like updating your calendar in your handheld device and then synchronizing the data with the calendar on your laptop computer.
Latitude D/Family laptops can be equipped with integrated Bluetooth at point of sale.
Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN)
Wireless Wide Area Networks transmit data using mobile phone signals, through a mobile phone service provider, with connection speeds equal to 56K* dial-up. Their range can reach up to 20 miles (30 kilometres), offering users a way to connect while they're on the move, away from other network infrastructure.
* Download speeds are limited to 53 Kbps. Upload speeds are less (about 30 Kbps). Speeds can vary by line condition and modem manufacturer. Analog phone line and service required. (Range and speed will vary according to environmental and other factors.)