Wireless Network Devices Defined
A wireless network device is any device that can be used to interconnect computers or hardware with each other, without the use of cables. Wireless devices normally connect through radio signals however the term “wireless network device” in itself is a very broad concept that encompasses a whole slew of devices and technologies.
Think of large broadcasting towers on a large scale and tiny USB adapters; these are but some of the highly variable examples of what the term “wireless network device” can encompass. The most popular wireless network device, and probably what immediately comes to most minds, is the wireless router.
Used in almost every kind of setting, from home laptop use to enterprise facilities, the wireless router is a ubiquitous representation of all wireless network devices.
Wireless network devices typically work in tandem with a set of very specific wireless signals and cannot interchange with other types of wireless signals.
However, as technologies change it means that if new signals or wireless technologies are introduced, the wireless network devices will not be compatible with them unless they are brought up-to-date. This is particularly important because it enables mutual exclusivity in use of wireless devices. An example would be that the modern American home often has multiple devices that work wirelessly.
This is even more so now with the emergence of the smart home lifestyle where almost every gadget connects with the internet, your smartphone or Bluetooth.
The use of your TV remote control does not interfere with the use of your smartphone. Neither does connecting to the internet on your laptop interfere with your getting feedback from the baby monitor upstairs.
This is because the devices respond to different signals and as such can run simultaneously without one blocking the other.
Beyond the primary function of broadcasting wireless signals, a wireless network device can also receive signals from external sources such that there is a mutual exchange between the devices instead of just one way connection. A great example is how most game consoles can connect to the wireless router to enable online game sharing.
This means that information packets are being sent back and forth between the game console and the wireless router throughout the course of the game playing so that there is a seamless integration to online game stats.
It used to be that wireless devices were decidedly technology related however these days any device, piece of furniture, kitchen appliance or motor vehicle has the capacity of being turned into a wireless device that connects to, receives and sends wirelessly. This means the today, virtually anything could be called a wireless network device.
Examples of Wireless Network Devices
- Wireless Routers
As already mentioned, the wireless router is one of the most pervasively widespread of wireless network devices. This is largely due to the very low cost which typically ranges from a few dollars on the lower end and hundreds of dollars on the high end side.
Wireless routers that are meant for large enterprises can actually cost thousands of dollars so there are a whole lot of options in between for most people’s tastes. The greatest differences in price are because of the type of signals and the range that any one router is capable of operating at.
Wireless routers are typically described as being “b,” “g,” or “n” which denotes the wireless communication standard upon which the router are based. They come in a choice of 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11n with the “b” series being the oldest in technology followed by the “g” series and current generation being “n” series.
The first generation of wireless routers was “b,” followed by “g” and now “n”—the newest generation. The greatest differentiator amongst the router standards is the speed of signal and its range which brings you back to why some cost thousands of dollars more than the Wal-Mart version.
- USB Wireless Adapters
Another example of wireless network devices that is almost as prevalent as the wireless router is the USB wireless adapter. A USB wireless adapter is a high speed wireless network card that uses the USB port to connect computers to wireless networks.
It is basically like the larger wireless routers in that it allows you to share with other hardware systems network resources such as files, printers, folders and Internet access.For the most part USB Wireless adapters look nearly identical to traditional USB flash drives so they offer the convenience of small size and portability.
USB Wireless adapters usually operate on the 802.11g wireless communication standard which gives them about 54-Mbps in data rate however; there are a few out there that are compatible with the 802.11b standard. It must be said however that due to their small sizes, USB wireless adapters trade in overall power of range and speed for the convenience of being portable.
- Wireless Keyboards
Wireless keyboards are everything that you already know from long time use of traditional keyboard that are built in to the computer system. The greatest difference between the two is the fact that wireless keyboard are well…wireless.
These keyboards are able to communicate with devises such as desktop computers, laptops or tablets using infrared (IR),radio frequency (RF), or Bluetooth technologies. Along the same vein of wireless computer accessories, one can also get a wireless mouse to go along with the wireless keyboard.
In terms of technologies being leveraged by various types of Wireless keyboards, those that are based on infrared technology make use of light waves that transmit signals to other devices that are also infrared-enabled. Radio frequency enabled wireless keyboards transmit their signals in RF signals ranging from 27 MHz and 2.4 GHz.
In actual fact, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency is the most used technology for wireless keyboards. The last type of technology that is used to enable wireless keyboards is Bluetooth. Apple’s wireless keyboard is an example of Bluetooth keyboards being in consumer markets.
Bluetooth wireless keyboards use the Bluetooth protocol to communicate and transmit information. Along with wireless keyboard, you also have other options in the tech world that can be called wireless network devicessuch as wireless card sand wireless printers. There is certainly no for lack of choice because many tech products these days come with wireless capabilities.
- Smart Appliances
The trend for having “smart” technology has taken on a life of its own and branched off from the tech world into lifestyle products and everyday living. Manufacturers of lifestyle products such as furniture and appliances are battling to upgrade their product lines so they can become “smart”.
This is the latest generation of wireless network devices because the appliances are able to receive signals via the smartphone and send back feedback to the homeowners about their status. An example would be the Whirlpool with 6th Sense Live™ series of appliances.
Using wireless technologies, everything from the oven to the dishwasher and even the fridge, is wireless connected to your mobile devices for ease of management so you can monitor their power usage or program them to make your life easier.
The Whirlpool Dishwasher is able to be programmed remotely and when it finishes washing, it lets you know so you can save energy usage. Another feature of smart home appliances is that the entire home can be programmed to operate wirelessly and keep you informed of any update.
The refrigerator is able to communicate with your mobile device to notify you when the power goes out or if you are running out of milk and your oven warns your oven tracks the temperature and tells you so you don’t have to constantly open the oven door. These are a few examples of the future of wireless network devices and it is expected that this market segment will only grow.
There are a lot of gadgets, entertainment systems and lifestyle products that can be called wireless network devices in today’s marketplace. They may vastly differ in terms of size, cost, functionality or industry usage, but they all maintain the core principles that define all wireless network devices.
They are able to communicate, to send and receive information packages as well as to leverage different wireless technologies. The line between technology and non-technology is becoming more blurred as more and more traditionally non-tech products are suddenly put online.
Even more, the technologies that make devices wireless are continually advancing which means that even those typically viewed as wireless network devices, have to constantly upgrade and update themselves. This means that although the definition of what makes up wireless network devices still stands, what is different are the types of products that qualify to be labelled as such.