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Networking Fundamentals: Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

Networking Fundamentals: Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

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In this blog, we will be looking at the networking type that facilitates users utilizing wireless internet on their smart devices, laptops and more.

In simple words, a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is one of the most highly applicable and accessible networks around the world with millions of users. In order to understand WLAN further and learn about its functioning, types, benefits and more, let’s continue reading.

Introduction

A Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is based on high frequency radio waves allowing the network to be established on a wireless platform. It is also sometimes referred to as a Local Area Wireless Network and it categorizes as a network established between two or more than two devices. A WLAN connection has several applications, such as in organizations and service industries, and these users and many alike greatly benefit from the internet connection made possible through access points based on a WLAN connection.

Apart from organizations or businesses, even the free wireless internet connection in restaurants and public spaces is through WLAN, allowing the utilization of fast and efficient network services with hassle free accessibility and connectivity. The popular internet connection, WIFI, which is a trademark of the WIFI alliance, is based on the WLAN connection.

Architecture of WLAN

Stations

Components having the ability to connect to a wireless medium in a network are known as stations (STA) and these are equipped with wireless network interface controllers. Categorized in two categories, the wireless station consists of an access point and a client. Access points are normally routers which assist in transmitting the signals.  On the other hand, most of the commonly used gadgets and technological equipment such as a computer, smartphone, video gaming consoles, and tablets act as connection points or wireless clients by picking up the radio signals from the network. The WLAN connection is thus established through radio transmitters and receivers.

Basic Service Set

Stations when combined together having the ability to communicate with each other at PHY level are called basic service set. There are two types of BSS, an independent BSS and an infrastructure BSS, both having a unique identification ID called the BSSID.

Extended Service Set

A collection of Basic Service sets is known as an extended service set. Distribution systems enable connection between extended service sets by connecting the access points. A distribution system can be both wireless and wired, and it is primarily used in improving network coverage.

These architectures often times get complicated to understand, even for networking professionals, and considering the massive applicability of wireless networks across the globe, the only preferable solution to this is to go through extensive networking training.

Advantages of WLAN

  • Convenience – WLAN facilitates users by allowing them to not restrict their movement while utilizing the network, and due to its availability almost everywhere now, it is further convenient for users, especially considering the rise in mobile devices and laptops
  • Mobility – This is linked with convenience, as employees can work wherever they want, allowing an increase in productivity and effectiveness of operations.
  • Cost – Wireless Networks are light on the pockets of users, especially for those considering the savings wireless networks bring in comparison to maintaining and deploying physical cables.
  • Flexibility – Wireless networks are capable of taking additional load without changing the entire network infrastructure.
  • Ease of installation – WLANs can be easily installed in premises where it is particularly difficult to deploy a wired network. As a result, making the entire process of WLAN installation is quick and simple.

To fully capitalize on the numerous benefits of WLAN, it is highly recommended to acquire special network training.

Types of WLAN

Infrastructure

In infrastructure mode, mobile units use an access point that acts as a bridge to other networks. Most of the Wi-Fi networks are based on infrastructure mode as well, as the base connection acts as access point hubs, through which nodes are communicated. These hubs primarily have fiber or wired network connections. Fixed at specific locations, these wireless access points provide service to the clients, such as smartphone and tablets, within that range. Finally, a network can also have multiple access points based on the same security arrangement.

Ad hoc Network

Through an Ad hoc network, stations communicate peer to peer, which is accomplished by utilizing the Independent Basic Service Set. The group owner acts as the access point while the other devices are clients in a peer-to-peer network. The group owner can be set either through autonomous group owner methodology, or through the negotiation-based creation where the intent value of devices are compared to select the group owner. These ad hoc networks have the capacity to communicate directly with each other without having any central access point.

WLAN Roaming

There are two types of WLAN roaming including the following:

Internal Roaming

In internal roaming, a mobile station seeks out one access point to another, in search of the strongest signals. This roaming process however may interrupt data flow and the network connection as it monitors for alternative access points.

External Roaming

Through external roaming however, the mobile station moves out of the access points available within the internal network, and connects with a WLAN of another wireless internet service provider by utilizing their hotspot. There is special authentication and billing procedures for mobile stations in foreign networks.

If you are eager to learn more about the different types of network to add value to your networking knowledge, it is best to take up an online course that is of value. WLAN is one of those networks, which has been adopted enormously globally; hence, network professionals need to have all the networking training pertaining to WLAN.

This is where QuickStart comes in, as the courses offered by them cover extensively and exhaustively all there is to know about networking. These courses further facilitate applicants in applying for the most sought after networking certifications by employers like the Cisco certification. The Cisco certification-training courses offered by QuickStart are destined to polish your skills and expertise furthermore, enabling you to take on any job role without any trouble.

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