A wireless LAN (WLAN) is a flexible data communication system implemented as an extension to, or as an alternative for, a wired LAN within a building or campus. Using radio frequency (RF) technology, WLANs transmit and receive data over the air, minimizing the need for wired connections. Thus, WLANs combine data connectivity with user mobility, and, through simplified configuration, enable movable LANs.
Over the last seven years, WLANs have gained strong popularity in a number of vertical markets, including the health-care, retail, manufacturing, warehousing, and academic arenas. These industries have profited from the productivity gains of using hand-held terminals and notebook computers to transmit real-time information to centralized hosts for processing. Today WLANs are becoming more widely recognized as a general-purpose connectivity alternative for a broad range of business customers. The Yankee Group, a market research firm, predicts a sixfold expansion of the U.S. wireless LAN market by the year 2000, reaching more than $1 billion in revenues.
Wireless LANs frequently augment rather than replace wired LAN networks-often providing the final few meters of connectivity between a backbone network and the mobile user. The following list describes some of the many applications made possible through the power and flexibility of wireless LANs:
The widespread strategic reliance on networking among competitive businesses and the meteoric growth of the Internet and online services are strong testimonies to the benefits of shared data and shared resources. With wireless LANs, users can access shared information without looking for a place to plug in, and network managers can set up or augment networks without installing or moving wires. Wireless LANs offer the following productivity, convenience, and cost advantages over traditional wired networks:
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|You are here -->||Overview||WLAN Technology Options|
|How WLANs Work||WLAN Customer Consideration|
|WLAN Configuration||WLAN Glossary|