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What is a Wireless LAN?(continue)

WLAN Configurations

Independent WLANs
The simplest WLAN configuration is an independent (or peer-to-peer) WLAN that connects a set of PCs with wireless adapters. Any time two or more wireless adapters are within range of each other, they can set up an independent network (Figure 3). These on-demand networks typically require no administration or preconfiguration.

Figure 3.
Independent WLAN

Access points can extend the range of independent WLANs by acting as a repeater (see Figure 4), effectively doubling the distance between wireless PCs.

Extended-Range Independent WLAN Using

Figure 4. Extended-Range Independent WLAN Using Access Point as Repeater

Infrastructure WLANs
In infrastructure WLANs, multiple access points link the WLAN to the wired network and allow users to efficiently share network resources. The access points not only provide communication with the wired network but also mediate wireless network traffic in the immediate neighborhood. Multiple access points can provide wireless coverage for an entire building or campus.

Figure 5. Infrastructure WLAN

Microcells and Roaming
Wireless communication is limited by how far signals carry for given power output. WLANs use cells, called microcells, similar to the cellular telephone system to extend the range of wireless connectivity. At any point in time, a mobile PC equipped with a WLAN adapter is associated with a single access point and its microcell, or area of coverage. Individual microcells overlap to allow continuous communication within wired network. They handle low-power signals and &#atilde;hand off&#atilde; users as they roam through a given geographic area. <p align="center"><img src="/img/fig6.gif" naturalsizeflag="3" height="264" width="350" align="bottom"> <p align="center"><b><span class="event">Figure 6. Handing off the WLAN Connection Between Access Points</span></b> <p><b><a href="/learn/glossary.htm">Next...</a></b> </span> <hr noshade> <p><b>Table of Contents</b> <ul> <li><a href="/learn/educate1.htm">Executive Summary</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate1.htm#over">Overview</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate1.htm#app">Overview: Applications for WLANs</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate2.htm#benef">Overview: Benefits of WLANs</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate2.htm#tech">Technology Options</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate3.htm">How WLANs Work: WLANs and Other Wireless Technologies</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate5.htm">WLAN Customer Considerations</a> <li><a href="/learn/educate4.htm">WLAN Configurations</a> <li><a href="/learn/glossary.htm">WLAN Glossary</a> </ul> <p align="left"><img src="/img/totop.gif" width="12" height="16" border="0">&nbsp;<a href="#top"><span class="event">Back to top</span></a> <!-- Start Superstats code version 3.0b. http://adrunner.mycomputer.com --> <script language="JavaScript"> /* You may give each page an identifying name, server, and channel on the next lines. */ var pageName = "Education WLAN Configurations" var server = "Server" var channel = "Channel" /**** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE! ****/ var code = ' '; </script> <script src="http://code.superstats.com/code/ss/wlana/0/30b"> </script><script language="JavaScript"> br = navigator.appName + parseInt(navigator.appVersion) if (code != ' ' || br == 'Netscape2') document.write(code) else document.write('<a' + ' href="http://stats.superstats.com/c/ss/wlana" target="_top"><img' + ' src="http://stats.superstats.com/b/ss/wlana/1' + '?pageName=' + escape(pageName) + '&server=' + escape(server) + '&channel=' + escape(channel) + '" border=0></a>') document.write('<'); document.write('!-- ') </script><noscript><a href="http://stats.superstats.com/c/ss/wlana" target="_top"><img src="http://stats.superstats.com/b/ss/wlana/1" border=0></a></noscript> <script language="JavaScript"> document.write(' --'); document.write('>') </script> <!-- End Superstats banner code. --> <!-- CONTENT_END --> <p align="center"><span class="footer">&#0169; 2001 WLANA. All rights reserved.</span> </td> </tr> </table> <!-- Img Map --> <map name="topnav"> <area alt="Today's WLAN News" coords="5,0,100,21" href="/redirect/news.html" target="_blank"> <area alt="Contact WLANA" coords="103,0,179,21" href="/contact.htm"> <area alt="WLANA Members" coords="182,0,231,21" href="/memb/index.htm"> <area alt="About WLANA" coords="237,0,304,21" href="/about/index.htm"> <area alt="Subscribe to the WLANA Newsletter" coords="309,0,360,21" href="/subscribe/index.htm"> <area alt="Site Map" coords="362,0,413,21" href="/site.htm"> </map> </body> </html>