Wireless networking

RECENT NEWS
The Economic Times  4 hrs ago  Comment 
JioLink will also allow users to use Jio's high-speed 4G services on devices which don’t support Jio’s LTE bands.
Forbes  Jul 25  Comment 
Everything has an energy/carbon footprint, including Pokémon. As bandwidth hogging augmented and virtual reality technology take off, global wireless networks are on track to rival aviation’s energy use.
The Australian  Jul 21  Comment 
Virgin Australia will launch its long-awaited in-flight WiFi internet services next year.
Benzinga  Jul 20  Comment 
Now you can really catch them all. Netherlands-based company TRNDlabs has released a video of its new product: the PokéDrone. While it hasn't been released yet, the product has a built-in camera and GPS that will link up to your phone via...
TechCrunch  Jul 20  Comment 
 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talked up some ambitious plans for the future of the New York City Subway during an address to a crowd at Brooklyn’s Transit Museum this week. At the top of the list is the addition of 1,025 new/refurbished...
Clusterstock  Jul 19  Comment 
WiFi startup Zenreach has officially emerged from stealth mode, announcing that it's raised $50 million and added Peter Thiel to its board.  Zenreach uses WiFi to help merchants find out how many times a customer returns to a store. When...
TechCrunch  Jul 14  Comment 
 Nest Cams (formerly known as Dropcams) are handy little things — plug it in, get it on WiFi, and boom, you’ve got a low-hassle indoor security camera. Want to put it outside? That’s a bit more complicated. The original Nest Cam isn’t...
The Economic Times  Jul 13  Comment 
In a paper issued Wednesday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), estimated that the "cost per MB" in a WiFi network could be less than 2 paise, which works out to a 10th of the average 23 paise/MB that consumers, typically, pay for...
Benzinga  Jul 11  Comment 
BTIG’s Walter Piecyk expects Boingo Wireless Inc (NASDAQ: WIFI) to deliver revenue and EBITDA growth, while returning to free cash flow, in 2017. However, the analyst believes the surge in the stock already reflects these factors. Piecyk...
Forbes  Jun 30  Comment 
Imagine your day without WiFi—can you? If a regular day without wireless internet access seems unimaginable for you, why would you let your small business go without it? Your business needs WiFi—yesterday.




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Wireless networking is a type of wireless communications technology which conforms to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking standards. It operates over unlicensed frequencies (those which do not require a permit from the FCC or other similar regulatory agencies) and typically over short ranges (hundreds of feet).

It was originally popularized by laptops, and has made its way into smart phones, but mobile phones and mobile broadband operating over cellular networks represent a different family of technology. Other devices taking advantage of wireless include point of sale computers and cash registers, and inventory management devices such as handheld barcode scanners found in retail establishments and warehouses.

Wireless networks are generally provided by wireless access points connected to a wired network via a network cable. (The consumer-oriented wireless router also acts as a hub for a broadband Internet connection.) Mesh networking allows wireless access points to connect to each other without a network cable. Ad hoc wireless networks allow computers and other mobile devices to connect to each other without a wireless access point; these are not yet technologically mature and difficult to set up, but recent standards (from early 2010) may help address that.

Developments

The IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard was finalized in 2009. It improves the data rates and coverage which wireless networking equipment can support.

Voice over WiFi ("VoFi"), provided by telephones using VOIP protocols, is being adopted by some companies. Some of these are simply desk phones which use a wireless connection, saving companies from having to manage physical phone lines. Others seek to provide the convenience of a cell phone, but with enterprise phone features (such as directories, conferencing, the ability to transfer calls, voicemail) under local control, and with potential cost savings. In a demonstration of wireless convergence, some VoFi phones can transition between a wireless LAN and a cellular phone link.

Affected companies

Wireless networking hardware

Cisco is the largest player in the wireless networking space by market share. Aruba Networks and Meru Networks vie for second place.

Hotspot providers

Wireless hotspot providers offer wireless networking in select locations. Independent hotspot providers have faced serious competition from mobile broadband, which has much broader coverage. Hotspots may continue to serve as a useful component of a broader telecom portfolio, but independent hotspot service is likely to remain a niche service offered in limited venues (most notably airports).

Free hotspots are also offered by various cafes or similar venues as an enticement for customers to visit. Panera is one chain offers free wireless service. In a combination of these two trends, Starbucks offers AT&T wireless in some of its stores in a partnership; Starbucks customers receive limited free service, and AT&T residential broadband customers can access unlimited service.

Pilot projects have brought hotspots to certain public transportation markets; these typically use a backhaul service such as WiMaX distributed to passengers over WiFi.

Other

The wireless networking space is also relevant to:

  • any laptop computer manufacturer
  • any smart phone manufacturer
  • any tablet computer manufacturer
  • companies producing wireless-enabled retail equipment
    • Motorola offers wireless devices such as handheld scanners for retail, but as of March 2010 was considering spinning off that division. (They also make their own access points).
  • companies producing operating systems and programming languages for embedded devices which may use wireless, including:

Losers

New wireless networking technologies may compete with Bluetooth for personal area networks and affect companies which manufacture Bluetooth equipment.

When wireless networking is deployed to replace wired networking, companies may lose out:

  • Cable-manufacturer Belden, who makes network cables, bought Trapeze Networks to guard against this possibility.
  • Cisco has a wireless networking division; however, if wireless is deployed to replace a wired network, they lose out on revenues from their wired networking division.
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