Designing a Wireless Network

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Qijun Gu
Danita S. Hill


Designing a Wireless Network
Jeffrey Wheat, Randy Hiser, Jackie Tucker, Alicia Neely and Andy McCullough
Syngress Publishing, Inc, Rockland, MA, 2001, 379 pp.
ISBN 1-928-99445-8, $49.95

Innovative technology is incorporating the communication between computers and wireless networking. Mobile computing platforms, such as laptops, handhelds, and mobile phones are increasing the demand for reliable and secure wireless networks. Network engineers and consultants need to create and build cutting-edge wireless networks in both, small and large businesses. Designing a Wireless Networks, by Wheat, Hiser, Tucker, Neely, and McCullough, focuses on solutions regarding networks and provides the necessary information on how to design and implement a wireless network.

This book aggregates the knowledge and views of several authors, most of whom are network consultants or engineers working for Lucent Technologies. Some of the authors have more than ten years of experience in this area, not only studying technologies but also providing designs and solutions with these innovative technologies. Therefore, this book can be viewed as a combination of both technology and application perspectives.

The book contains two parts. The first part is comprised of four chapters about wireless technologies. Chapter 1 covers the history of wireless communications. Following the historical overview, it then discusses the application operating and markets over wireless technologies. Chapter 2 introduces how wireless networks work by discussing wireless physics, wireless components, and regulations. Chapter 3 helps readers to understand wireless networks from the general network concepts. It displays OSI and TCP/IP models, which are fundamentals of any current network. Then, in chapter 4, technologies of fixed wireless, mobile wireless, wireless LAN, and optical wireless are discussed as the major and most popular ones today.

The second part of this book is about design issues of wireless networks in different situations. Chapter 5 first explores the design process, identifies the design considerations, and completes the design with a high level overview. The last four chapters show designs for four cases respectively, a retail case, a hospital case, a college case, and a home case. Each case is a unique design project from inception to completion and they serve as a guide towards building a wireless network.

As an introductory book to wireless technologies, this book has two perspectives. The first helps readers to understand the specialties of wireless technologies that are illustrated from two perspectives. One is of the wireless history. The book takes readers from the discovery of electro-magnetism to the technology developments in the present day. The long history of exploring radio and short period of wireless prosperousness tell readers that wireless technologies heavily depend on the other mature information technologies, such as, computers and wired networks. The other perspective is the wireless physical and distributed nature. Designing a Wireless Networks pose the question, "Why are wireless applications special?" Its physical and distributed characteristics impose hard challenges requiring the development of highly effective and efficient means, which are the major considerations when deploying a wireless network.

The book not only explores the most important aspects of technology but also provides applicable case studies displayed as a second advantage. Various wireless technologies and information systems exist today. It is a great challenge to provide solutions to access the distributed information seamlessly between incompatible software, hardware, standards, and application requirements. The book comprehensively discusses the design considerations, methods, and processes. In addition, its four cases cover most of the typical applications that include different considerations and requirements that are presented by different techniques and methods.

In conclusion, the objectives provide an introduction to wireless technologies and a basic guide and development of wireless technologies. This book is successful in that anyone can have an outline of wireless networking after reading. This book is application oriented. Therefore, readers will not know the specific techniques applied in wireless technologies. Regarding the design perspective, the book takes a high level position. The book does not cover the exact equipment needed to measure the environment, and the detail criteria to evaluate wireless deployment. So a designer may need another design handbook to actively implement a network.

In summary, the book, Designing a Wireless Networks, is a good introductory book for those who want to step into the wireless networking arena. To obtain more knowledge, readers are recommended to go beyond this one

Qijun Gu and Danita S. Hill,
Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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