Chapter 7. Wireless WANs: Networks for Worldwide Connections

What You Will Learn

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

  • Recognize specific wireless WAN applications

  • Understand wireless WAN components and standards

  • Realize the various wireless WAN systems

Wireless WANs satisfy needs for networking over vast distances, such as countries and continents. In most cases, wireless WANs offer connections while away from the office, home, and the indoor public wireless LANs. Wireless WANs do provide coverage inside buildings, but performance in these areas is often much less than when operating outside.

The advantage of wireless WANs is wide coverage and economies-of-scale that result in low prices for subscribers. The disadvantage is that the limited availability of frequency spectrum results in low performance and limited security. Wireless WANs, however, are more practical than wireless LANs to deploy in large areas. Some performance is better than none.

For example, a wireless WAN enables someone to check her e-mail on her PDA while visiting a customer in a different city. This allows users to react quicker to situations, rather than wait to check their e-mail from the hotel room. The relatively low performance of wireless WANs adequately supports this type of application.

Wireless WANs can also provide Internet access from a stationary location. A camper, for example, can aim a satellite dish mounted on a recreational vehicle and have access to the Internet. This makes it possible to stay in touch with family, and enjoy the benefits of the web, while staying in remote areas.

This chapter offers examples of wireless WAN components, describes how these components interconnect to form a variety of systems, and explores the various technologies.