Comparison of Wireless Data Standards

Comparison Of Wireless Data Standards

A wide variety of different wireless data technologies exist, some in direct competition with one another, others designed for specific applications. Wireless technologies can be evaluated by a variety of different metrics of which some are described in this entry.

Standards can be grouped as follows in increasing range order:

Personal Area Network (PAN) systems are intended for short range communication between devices typically controlled by a single person. Some examples include wireless headsets for mobile phones or wireless heart rate sensors communicating with a wrist watch. Some of these technologies include standards such as ANT UWB, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wireless USB

For wider area communications, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is used. WLANs are often known by their commercial product name Wi-Fi. These systems are used to provide wireless access to other systems on the local network such as other computers, shared printers, and other such devices or even the internet. Typically a WLAN offers much better speeds and delays within the local network than an average consumer's Internet access. Older systems that provide WLAN functionality include DECT and HIPERLAN. These however are no longer in widespread use. One typical characteristic of WLANs is that they are mostly very local, without the capability of seamless movement from one network to another.

Cellular networks or WAN are designed for city-wide/national/global coverage areas and seamless mobility from one access point (often defined as a Base Station) to another allowing seamless coverage for very wide areas. Cellular network technologies are often split into 2nd generation 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Originally 2G networks were voice centric or even voice only digital cellular systems (as opposed to the analog 1G networks). Typical 2G standards include GSM and IS-95 with extensions via GPRS, EDGE and 1xRTT, providing Internet access to users of originally voice centric 2G networks. Both EDGE and 1xRTT are 3G standards, as defined by the ITU, but are usually marketed as 2.9G due to their comparatively low speeds and high delays when compared to true 3G technologies.

True 3G systems such as EV-DO, W-CDMA (including HSPA) provide combined circuit switched and packet switched data and voice services from the outset, usually at far better data rates than 2G networks with their extensions. All of these services can be used to provide combined mobile voice access and Internet access at remote locations.

4G networks provide even higher bitrates and many architectural improvements, which are not necessarily visible to the consumer. The current 4G systems that are deployed widely are HSPA+, WIMAX and LTE. The latter two are pure packet based networks without traditional voice circuit capabilities. These networks provide voice services via VoIP.

Some systems are designed for point-to-point line-of-sight communications, once two such nodes get too far apart they can no longer communicate. Other systems are designed to form a wireless mesh network using one of a variety of routing protocols. In a mesh network, when nodes get too far apart to communicate directly, they can still communicate indirectly through intermediate nodes.

Read more about Comparison Of Wireless Data Standards:  Overview, Peak Bit Rate and Throughput

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Comparison Of Wireless Data Standards - Typical Spectral Use - Frequency
... Allocated frequencies Standard Frequencies Spectrum Type UMTS FDD 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 2.0, 1.9/2.1, 2.1, and 1.7/2.1 GHz Licensed UMTS-TDD 450, 850 MHz, 1.9, 2, 2.5, and 3.5 GHz 2 GHz Licensed (C ... GHz Unlicensed ISM 802.15.4 868 MHz, 915 MHz, 2.4 GHz Unlicensed ISM Wireless USB, UWB 3.1 to 10.6 GHz Unlicensed Ultrawideband VEmesh* 868 MHz, 915 MHz, and 953 MHz Unlicensed ISM EnOcean* 868.3 ...

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