A common wireless data implementation is enabling devices to wirelessly connect via a LAN. In general, a wireless LAN requires the following network devices:
- Wireless Access Point (AP): Concentrates the wireless signals from users and connects, usually through a copper cable, to the existing copper-based network infrastructure, such as Ethernet. Home and small business wireless routers integrate the functions of a router, switch, and access point into one device as shown in the figure.
- Wireless NIC adapters: Provides wireless communication capability to each network host.
As the technology has developed, a number of WLAN Ethernet-based standards have emerged. Care needs to be taken in purchasing wireless devices to ensure compatibility and interoperability.
The benefits of wireless data communications technologies are evident, especially the savings on costly premises wiring and the convenience of host mobility. However, network administrators need to develop and apply stringent security policies and processes to protect wireless LANs from unauthorized access and damage.