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Wireless networking (wireless LAN)

Wireless networks allow computing devices to share information and resources via wireless communications. In recent years, various short-range wireless network communications technologies, notably IEEE 802.11 and Bluetooth, have emerged to enable portable devices (such as laptops, cellular phones, personal digital assistants) to communicate both with each other and with wide-area networking environments. Wireless local area networks (LAN) have become a popular alternative to wired LANs, especially at locations where wiring is difficult or costly. A wireless local area network is a flexible data communication system implemented as an extension to or as an alternative for a wired LAN. WLAN systems transmit and receive data over the air using radio frequency or infrared technology to minimize the need for wired connections. The wireless LAN is such a network system that a part of the wire LAN is constructed by the wireless system to incorporate the station into the LAN, and in many cases the Ethernet is employed as the wire LAN. Wireless LANs generally have an infrastructure network and an ad-hoc network. The infrastructure network is used for communications between stations via access points, and the ad-hoc network is used for direct communications between stations located near each other. Wireless networks may contain one or more access points that interface with wireless and/or wired networks. Access points may also interface wirelessly with other access points to extend the geographical size of the wireless network. Wireless routers may be used in wireless networks to perform data routing functions within the wireless setting. Most WLAN systems use spread spectrum technology, a wide-band radio frequency technique developed for use in a reliable and secure communication system. Wireless LANs are generally implemented according to the standard as defined by the ISO/IEC 8802-11 international standard (IEEE 802.11). IEEE 802.11 addresses frequency hopping spread spectrum radio, direct sequence spread spectrum radio, and infrared light transmissions. Bluetooth is a specification for short-range wireless connectivity that is aimed at unifying telecommunications and computing.

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