Wireless networks are computer networks that connect devices through electromagnetic waves. There are several different ways of grouping wireless networks.
Wireless networks use radio waves, visible light, microwaves, different codecs, cover more or less area, use different network topology. I am going to use a classification partly based on topology, partly on application, to best address practical questions.
1. Point-to-Point Wireless Networks
Also known as Bridges, point-to-point wireless can connect two remote locations via a typical line-of-sight microwave connection, typically because the customer wants to avoid a leased line connection, or there is no leased line connection available.
These bridges can be dimensioned for a few Mbps to more than a Gbps, and applications range from LAN-to LAN connections between buildings to service provider backhaul via emergency high-speed network solutions after incidents of any kind.
Typical bandwidths are 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz, Millimetre Wave, and Free Space Optics.
2. Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Networks
Wireless point-to-multipoint networks are built to handle many static and or mobile end points while offering high bandwidth speeds to users connecting across the network’s coverage area.
Typical use cases are university campuses, large corporate deployments, city-wide networks, ISP’s hotspots.
Popular frequency bands are the 5GHz band, but 900MHz, 3GHz and 6GHz amongst others, can also be used.
Lin Haw carries Open Mesh and Ubiquiti’s Unifi network solution to cover different aspects of this application.
3. Indoor Wi-Fi Networks
Small-scale point-to-multipoint networks covering the indoor space.
Typical applications are businesses, cafes, shopping malls, industrial applications and home users.
Typical bandwidth is 5GHz and 2.4GHz. There is usually less interference on the 5GHz band, so even though range is usually less on 5GHz, it can be a viable alternative in crowded airspace.
4. Outdoor Wi-Fi Networks
No need to pay expensive leased line charges between buildings, or put up with the slow speeds associated with them. Achieve high-speed connection with minimal operating cost.
Planning an outdoor Wi-Fi network requires skilled planning. Use a good planning tool and plan for the devices that are going to be used on the network (tablets?, phones?, laptops?).
5. Mesh Wireless Networks
Mesh-structured networks are flexible: each access point is equally important. It is easy to add, remove or re-arrange access points. A favorite for situations where flexibility is key and network management needs to be really easy.
Please see our dedicated post about Open Mesh’s solution.
6. 3G Cellular Networks
Built and operated by telecom carriers, these are expensive to build and maintain. Interesting to note is: telecom carriers will increasingly spend money for WiFi and small cell and microcell infrastructure.
7. Cloud Computing Wireless Networks
These networks use the concept of the cloud and apply it to networking. Meaning that instead of building and maintaining and managing your own network, you are outsourcing the network to the cloud.
Cisco Meraki’s solution is a hybrid: cloud-based network management and customer-owned network. There is a cost for outsourcing, though, and in Meraki’s case, high subscription fees for the cloud management.
Build the network that fits your or your customer’s requirements. As an example, you could combine Ubiquiti’s outdoor access points with Open Mesh’s radios for indoor coverage.
Lin Haw carries all necessary components: routers, radio access points, PoE (Power over Ethernet) injectors, indoor or outdoor covers for access points, mounting kits.