Wireless Technologies

Wireless connection to internet is very common these days. Often an external modem is connected to the Internet and other devices connect to it wirelessly. This eliminated the need for last mile or first mile wiring. There are two ways of connecting to the Internet wirelessly – Wi-Fi and WiMAx.


Wi-Fi is the acronym for wireless fidelity. Wi-Fi technology is used to achieve connection to the Internet without a direct cable between device and Internet Service Provider. Wi-Fi enabled device and wireless router are required for setting up a Wi-Fi connection. These are some characteristics of wireless Internet connection −

  • Range of 100 yards
  • Insecure connection
  • Throughput of 10-12 Mbps

If a PC or laptop does not have Wi-Fi capacity, it can be added using a Wi-Fi card.


The physical area of the network which provides Internet access through Wi-Fi is called Wi-Fi hotspot. Hotspots can be set up at home, office or any public space like airport, railway stations, etc. Hotspots themselves are connected to the network through wires.


To overcome the drawback of Wi-Fi connections, WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) was developed. WiMax is a collection of wireless communication standards based on IEEE 802.16. WiMax provides multiple physical layer and media access control (MAC) options.

WiMax Forum, established in 2001, is the principal body responsible to ensure conformity and interoperability among various commercial vendors. These are some of the characteristics of WiMax −

  • Broadband wireless access
  • Range of 6 miles
  • Multilevel encryption available
  • Throughput of 72 Mbps

The main components of a WiMax unit are −

  • WiMax Base Station − It is a tower similar to mobile towers and connected to Internet through high speed wired connection.

  • WiMax Subscriber Unit (SU) − It is a WiMax version of wireless modem. The only difference is that modem is connected to the Internet through cable connection whereas WiMax SU receives Internet connection wirelessly through microwaves.