Wireless 101

This is a quick tutorial on public frequency wireless networks.

There are 4 different frequencies we will talk about.  900mhz, 2.4Ghz, 3.56Ghz, and 5.8Ghz.  And we will shorthand these as 900, 2, 356 and 5.

900, 2 and 5 are public and can be used by anyone.  365 requires a license from the FCC that costs $165 and requires you to do some reporting to them about where you are using equipment.  It’s called “Lightly licensed”.

900 is good at going through trees, but is not super fast, and there are not a lot of usable channels.  Also the equipment is sometimes rather large.

2 is what everyone generally uses for their wifi routers.  It’s pretty fast, goes through trees and walls ok for shorter distances.  There is a lot of noise in this frequency because everyone is already using wifi.  Also there are not a lot of channels to use.

365 is not used much because of the licensing, it has similar properties of 2.

5 is not great at going through trees and really wants a clear line of sight.  There are a lot more channels available.  The equipment can be pretty small.  Some drawbacks are that more and more people are starting to use this so the frequency can get crowded.  Much more bandwidth available than with 900, 2 or 365.

The next thing we will talk about are different types of antenna’s.

The first type is called an Omni, which distributes a signal in 360 degrees.  This generally looks like a pole.

The next is a sector, and distributes things in 90, or 120 degrees.  This looks like a tall skinny panel.

The last is a panel or dish, and sends a signal in a very specific line or direction for a long distance.  These look like a dish, or sometimes a square panel.