1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A computer network or data network is a telecommunications network which allows computers to exchange data. In computer networks, networked computing devices pass data to each other along network links (data connections). The connections between nodes are established using either cable media or wireless media. The best-known computer network is the Internet (Wikipedia, 2015). Network computer devices that originate, route and terminate the data are called network nodes. Nodes can include hosts such as personal computers, phones, servers as well as networking hardware. Two such devices can be said to be networked together when one device is able to exchange information with the other device, whether or not they have a direct connection to each other (Geier, 2001).
Computer networks differ in the transmission media used to carry their signals, the communications protocols to organize network traffic, the network’s size, topology and organizational intent. In most cases, communications protocols are layered on (i.e. work using) other more specific or more general communications protocols, except for the physical layer that directly deals with the transmission media. Computer networks support applications such as access to the World Wide Web, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications (Wikipedia, 2015).
A wireless network is any type of computer network that uses wireless data connections for connecting network nodes. Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and enterprise (business) installations avoid the costly process of introducing cables into a building, or as a connection between various equipment locations. Wireless telecommunications networks are generally implemented and administered using radio communication. This implementation takes place at the physical level (layer) of the OSI model network structure. Examples of wireless networks include cell phone networks, Wi-Fi local networks and terrestrial microwave networks. Wireless media uses the antennas for sending and receiving the electromagnetic waves without using any physical conductors. Radio frequencies (RF) are generated by antennas that propagate the waves into the air. According to Molisch (2005), antennas for wireless transmission can be fall under two different categories:
– Directional antennas: Directional antennas are commonly used in point-to-point configurations connecting two distant buildings LANs, and sometimes point-to-multipoint (connecting two WLANs). In this, sending and receiving antenna must be properly aligned for proper transmission. An example of a directional antenna is a Yagi antenna: this antenna allows you to adjust the direction and focus of the signal to strengthen the range/reach.
– Omni-directional antennas: Omni-directional antennas are used in point-to multi-point configurations, where they distribute the wireless signal to other computers or devices in WLAN. An access point would use an Omni-directional antenna. These antennas can also be used for point-to-point connections. In this, signal is spread in all directions and can be received by any antenna which is compatible to receive the signals. However, this study is aimed at providing an overview on computer networking with specific emphasis on wireless network.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Wireless network is a network through which data signals flow through the air. It’s useful for people to communicate and access applications and information without wires (Rappaport, 2002). It allows people to interact with e-mail or browse the Internet from a location that they prefer. Wireless networks are not bound to a channel to follow like wired networks. Wireless networking is less expensive and much easier to install than more traditional wired networking. Wireless networking is used at the airport, or in hotel lobbies, and a small office or home network etc. The transmitted distance can be anywhere between a few meters as a television’s remote control and thousands of kilometers as radio communication. Wireless network uses the antennas for sending and receiving the electromagnetic waves without using any physical conductors. Radio frequencies (RF) are generated by antennas that propagate the waves into the air (Rhoton, 2001). A detailed overview of wireless network will be highlighted in this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To provide an overview on wireless network
2. To examine the different types of wireless network
3. To determine the structure and components of a wireless network
4. To analyze the advantages of wireless network
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is a wireless network?
2. What are the different types of wireless network?
3. What are the structure and components of a wireless network?
4. What are the advantages of wireless network?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study on the computer networking using wireless network has the following significance:
1. It will educate the general public on the details about computer networking with more emphasis on wireless network. It will also familiarize students and the general public about the structure and components of wireless network and most importantly the various types of wireless networks that exists.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the relationship between performance assessment and investment decision, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study on computer networking using wireless network will provide an overview of computer networking with more emphasis on wireless networks. It will also cover all the types of wireless network that exists, structure and components of the wireless network.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Computer: an electronic device which is capable of receiving information (data) in a particular form and of performing a sequence of operations in accordance with a predetermined but variable set of procedural instructions (program) to produce a result in the form of information or signals.
Networking: connection of computers together in order to make them share information
Internet: a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols
Communication: the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
Wireless network: wireless is the term used to describe any computer network where there is no physical wired connection between sender and receiver, but rather the network is connected by radio waves and/or microwaves to maintain communications.
Geier, J. (2001). Wireless LANs. Sams;. ISBN 0-672-32058-4. Molisch, A. (2005). Wireless Communications. Wiley-IEEE Press. ISBN 0-470-84888-X.
Rappaport, T. (2002). Wireless Communications: Principles and Practice. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-042232-0.
Rhoton, J. (2001). The Wireless Internet Explained. Digital Press. ISBN 1-55558-257-5. Kostas P. (2005). “Wireless Data Networks”. Internet Protocol Journal 8 (1). Retrieved 29 August 2011.