What is a Wireless Network & How it Works?

As the name suggests, a wireless network is a computer network that does not rely on wires to establish the connection between network nodes. The wireless network is also called wireless local area networks (WLAN), and it operates on radio waves. Radiofrequency (RF) technology uses a frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum which is associated with radio waves.

Usually, you go to public places like a hotel, airport, coffee shops, etc. and connect their Wi-Fi hotspot. In a way, you are connecting to the wireless network of that particular facility.


Common examples of wireless networks are WLANs, mobile phone networks, satellite communication networks, etc.

How wireless network works?

A wireless network is connected to a wired network using an access point (AP). An access point consists of transceivers and antennas. An RF current is fed to the antenna to propagate the radio waves, which in turns create an electromagnetic field (EM).

This electromagnetic field is then used to propagate RF signals through space. The range of a wireless network depends on the strength of EM field generated by the antenna.

wireless network everywhere

To join a wireless network, your device (be it a computer, phone or tablet) should be equipped with wireless network adapters. In case your device does not come with an inbuilt network adapter, wireless capabilities can be enabled by using an add-on adapter. A wireless network converts signals from your device to radio and transmits them using an antenna.

History of wireless network

Wireless network technology is nothing new since the first professional wireless network came into existence sometime in 1969. It was developed at the University of Hawaii by a brand name of ALOHAnet and soon, it became operational in 1971. However, WaveLAN was the first commercial wireless network which was developed by NCR in 1986.

Major landmark

  • 2G mobile phone network – In the year 1991
  • Wi-Fi protocol (802.11) – In the year 1997
  • VoIP integration (803.11) – In the year 1999

Benefits of using Wireless Networks

Saves the cost of installation

For both homes and small offices, wireless technology is a much more cost-effective option when compared to Ethernet for sharing printers, scanners and high-speed Internet connections.

Deploying wireless computer networks saves the overhead cost of installing and implementing wired networks while creating mobility for connected devices.

Easy to install and use

Wireless networks are very easy to install and takes much less time than establishing wired networks. For homes and small offices, a WLAN can be created by using only a single wired connection.

Connecting remote areas

Wireless networks offer many advantages when connecting remote areas that are otherwise very difficult to wire. For example, if you want to communicate across a street or have two offices that are in proximity but not directly connected, wireless networks will help you out.

Setting up temporary networks

Due to the low cost of installation, wireless networks are a better option when setting up temporary networks. An example of this would be setting up a temporary office space. The hardware can be easily relocated and reused, saving money and time.

Staying connected ‘On the Go’

Wireless technology has made it possible to stay connected while traveling. In addition to high-speed 3G and 4G cellular networks, deployment of wireless mesh networks provide the ability to work while traveling on a moving car, bus or train.

These wireless technologies are quite robust and can be used in case of emergencies such as warning people in case of an upcoming natural calamity, saving many lives.

Information of Things

Wireless networks are playing an essential role in making of smart homes. Different home appliances can be connected and controlled by remote devices such as your smartphones.


This can help prevent accidents and save power by turning off devices, when not in use, remotely while adding the comfort factor.


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