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How is wireless network classified?

With the evolving technology, the wireless networks have also evolved. But how they are classified?
The wireless networks can be classified in 3 major ways:

  • 1. Based upon the infrastructure
  • 2. Based upon mobility
  • 3. Based upon the network’s size

Classification based up on Infrastructure

Wireless networks falling under this category are:
1. The infrastructure networks: These networks involve the base stations or the access points. These networks are one – hop ones generally. Examples of this type of networks are the cellular networks, wireless LANS etc.
2. Ad-hoc networks: In this type of wireless networks, a network is formed as a result of the coordination of the remote nodes. Unlike the infrastructure networks, these are the multi–hop networks and therefore use multi–hop wireless links.

Classification based up on Mobility

Wireless networks falling under this category are:
1. Static wireless networks: These wireless networks are required because of their cost effectiveness and because they can be very well used in harsh terrains. Providing internet access to a village at a remote location is an example of this.
2. Mobile wireless networks: In these wireless networks, few nodes are mobile such as in MANETs or mobile ad hoc networks and cellular networks. Naming i.e., changing the network and sustaining an open link (for example in mobile IP) are two most persistence challenges to this category of wireless networks.

Classification based up on Size

– There are 5 types of wireless networks under this category of classification:
1. BAN or body area networks: These include the sensors that are inserted in the human body in medical applications.
2. PAN or Personal area networks: These network types include Bluetooth, home networking and zigbee networks.
3. LAN or local area networks: These include wi – fi and wireless local area networks or WLANs.
4. MAN or Metropolitan area networks: Community wireless networks fall under this category.
5. WAN or wide area networks: Satellite and cellular networks fall under this category.
– It’s a kind of a decentralized wireless network.
– It has been named so because of its independence on an already existing infrastructure as in wired networks.
– Rather, here each nodes participates individually in the routing process i.e., they forward data to be received by other nodes.
– So the nodes towards which the data has to be forwarded are determined dynamically based upon the connectivity of the network.

About Ad-hoc Networks
– Ad hoc networks use two types of routing for forwarding the data namely, the classic routing and the flooding.
– This network also might refer to a set of networks in which all the devices share an equal status on the network and can freely associate with any other device that lies within the range of the wireless link.
– The mode of operation of ad hoc networks is the IEEE 802.11.
– These networks also refer to the ability of a device for maintaining its link information.
– This activity actually belongs to the layer 2 and this why a rout-able IP network environment is not supported but by the ad-hoc networks without additional capabilities of layers 3 and 2.

About PRNETs or the Packet Radio Networks
– The PRNETs or the packet radio networks were the earliest one of these types and were sponsored by the ALOHAnet project and DARPA.
– Because of their decentralized nature, these networks become too useful in applications where the network cannot rely upon a central node.
– This also leads to an increase in the scalability of the networks when compared to the managed networks.
– There deployment is quick and they require minimal configuration and so they are well suited for the emergency situations.
– What enable their quick formation are the dynamic and adaptive routing protocols.
– Based up on their application, they can be classified further.

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