Wireless communication is one of the most desired modes of communication (connectivity) between two or more devices. In this technology, the data communication is performed and delivered over the air via electromagnetic waves, such as radio frequencies, infrared and satellite, rather than over cables and wires.
Wireless communications operate over particular frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum from 3 Hz to 3000 GHz (3 THz), called radio waves. It includes a diverse variety of computing and communications applications ranging from third-generation/fourth-generation (3G/4G) cellular devices, broadband access, indoor WiFi networks, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) systems to embedded sensor and radio frequency identification (RFID) applications, microwave, aeronautical, maritime and other commercial and private radio services.
Due to the dynamic requirement of wireless requirement different methods and standards of wireless communication have been developed across the world, based on various commercially driven requirements like specific application and transmission range. These technologies can roughly be classified into four individual categories; Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN), Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN), Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN). As implicated by their names, the properties of these solutions in terms of range and data rate are optimized for personal, local, metropolitan, or worldwide coverage and use.
The reach of a Wireless PAN is typically a few meters. WPAN’s can be used for communication among the personal devices themselves (intrapersonal communication), or for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet. A Wireless LAN links the two or more computers without using wires, WLAN utilizes spread-spectrum technology based on radio waves to enable communication between devices IEEE 802.11, the Wi-Fi standard, denotes a set of Wireless LAN/WLAN standards. The Wireless MAN is the name trademarked by the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access Standards for its wireless metropolitan area network standard (commercially known as WiMAX), which defines broadband Internet access from fixed or mobile devices via antennas. The Wireless WAN is a computer network covering a broad geographical area, WAN’s are used to connect Local Area Networks (LAN’s or WLAN’s) together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in other locations, WAN’s also refer to Mobile Data Communications, such as GSM, GPRS and 3G. The largest and most well-known example of a WAN is the Internet.
Here are the main Wireless Technology Standard and applications:
- NFC (Point-to-point) – Near Field Communication: Offers a low-speed connection with a simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections. NFC devices are used in contactless payment systems, social networking like sharing contacts, photos, videos or files.
- RFID (WPAN - IEEE 802.15) – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a contactless technology uses radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object electronically without any human action, it’s a dedicated short range communication.
- Bluetooth (WPAN - IEEE 802.15.1) - Bluetooth uses WPAN technology for exchanging data over short distances wirelessly. It is used is mobile phones, headsets, headphones, MP3 players, computers, boom boxes, laptops, computer mice, GPS units, and car stereos.
- Zigbee (WPAN - IEEE 802.15.4) - It is a low-power, low data rate, and close proximity wireless ad-hoc network. It implements high-level communication protocols used to create personal area networks with small, low-power digital radios, such as for home automation, sensors, medical device data collection, and other low-power low-bandwidth needs.
- Z-Wave (WPAN) - Z-Wave is a wireless radio frequency technology that lets smart devices talk to and connect with one another. Household products, like lights, door locks, and thermostats are made smart when Z-Wave connectivity is added. The devices can be easily accessed and controlled remotely on your Smartphone. Mainly used in the home or building automation applications.
- WiFi (WLAN – IEEE 802.11)- Wi-Fi enables a user to get access to the internet anywhere in the given location like Hotels, Libraries, colleges, universities, campus, private institutes, and coffee shops and even on a public place. Wi-Fi allows connecting several devices, like computers, phones, printer etc, at once anywhere in the house or building.
- LoRa (LPWAN) - LoRa is a LoRaWAN protocol, open standard for secure connectivity. It’s a long-range, low-power, low-bit rate, standard intended for battery operated devices for M2M and Internet of Things networking. It the most prevailing technology choice for building IoT networks worldwide.
- Sigfox (LPWAN) - Similar to LoRa but not open. A wireless network designed to connect low-energy devices over the ultra-narrow band, in particular for battery powered IoT applications.
- Cellular (WWAN - IEEE 802.16) - A wireless technology used by mobile phones, it re-uses radio frequency to enable complex two-way communication. It uses several small cells located over a wide geographical are interconnected through a central exchange to form a WWAN.