What is wireless technology?
Humans are more interconnected than ever before due to the proliferation of mobile devices enabled by wireless technology. The terms ‘wireless communication’ was introduced in the 19th century and currently refers to the transmission of data or information from one place to another wirelessly. Wireless communication involves a variety of wireless communication devices and technologies which provide cableless communication over vast distances. Wireless communication technology has developed into one of the most important mediums for the transmission of information and has become an integral part of our daily activities. Wireless technology provides an exchange of data through the air without any conductor requiring a cable or wire by using electromagnetic waves like radio frequencies (RF), infrared radiation (IR) or simply Infrared and satellite, among others. Through RF and radio signals, the information is transmitted across devices over some meters to hundreds of kilometres through well-defined channels.
Different types of signals are used in communication between devices for the wireless transmission of data. The following are the different electromagnetic signals used in wireless communication depending on their wavelength and frequency.
- Radio Frequency Transmission
Radio frequency signals are easily generated, range between 3kHz to 300GHz, penetrate through objects and travel long distances. Disadvantages are that they are frequency dependent and have a relatively low bandwidth for data transmission.
- Infrared Transmission
Infrared radiations are electromagnetic radiations with longer wavelengths than visible light. These are usually used for short-range communications. These signals do not pass through solid objects. Examples include remote controls for televisions and mobile data sharing in a closed network.
- Microwave Transmission
Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic transmission used in wireless communication systems used for long distance communications and are relatively less expensive. Microwaves do not pass through buildings, are affected by inclement weather and are frequency dependent.
- Lightwave Transmission
Light is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength ranging between infrared radiation and ultraviolet radiation. They are unguided optical signals such as laser and are unidirectional. The signals cannot penetrate through rain and fog, and the laser beams are easily diverted by air.
Types of wireless communication technologies
Wireless communication technology is categorised into different types depending on the distance of communication, the range of data and type of devices used. Different types of wireless communication technologies include:
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Radar communication
- Satellite communication
- Cellular communication
- Global positioning system (GPS)
- Radio frequency identification