Wireless

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A handheld on-board communication station of the maritime mobile service Handheld Maritime VHF.jpg
A handheld on-board communication station of the maritime mobile service

Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the electromagnetic transfer of information between two or more points that are not connected by an electrical conductor. The most common wireless technologies use radio waves. With radio waves, intended distances can be short, such as a few meters for Bluetooth or as far as millions of kilometers for deep-space radio communications. It encompasses various types of fixed, mobile, and portable applications, including two-way radios, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wireless networking. Other examples of applications of radio wireless technology include GPS units, garage door openers, wireless computer mouse, keyboards and headsets, headphones, radio receivers, satellite television, broadcast television and cordless telephones. Somewhat less common methods of achieving wireless communications include the use of other electromagnetic wireless technologies, such as light, magnetic, or electric fields or the use of sound.

Contents

The term wireless has been used twice in communications history, with slightly different meaning. It was initially used from about 1890 for the first radio transmitting and receiving technology, as in wireless telegraphy , until the new word radio replaced it around 1920. Radios in the UK that were not portable continued to be referred to as wireless sets into the 1960s. The term was revived in the 1980s and 1990s mainly to distinguish digital devices that communicate without wires, such as the examples listed in the previous paragraph, from those that require wires or cables. This became its primary usage in the 2000s, due to the advent of technologies such as mobile broadband, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Wireless operations permit services, such as mobile and interplanetary communications, that are impossible or impractical to implement with the use of wires. The term is commonly used in the telecommunications industry to refer to telecommunications systems (e.g. radio transmitters and receivers, remote controls, etc.) which use some form of energy (e.g. radio waves, acoustic energy,) to transfer information without the use of wires. [1] [2] [3] Information is transferred in this manner over both short and long distances.

History

Photophone

Bell and Tainter's photophone, of 1880. Photophony1.jpg
Bell and Tainter's photophone, of 1880.

The first wireless telephone conversation occurred in 1880, when Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter invented the photophone, a telephone that sent audio over a beam of light. The photophone required sunlight to operate, and a clear line of sight between transmitter and receiver. These factors greatly decreased the viability of the photophone in any practical use. It would be several decades before the photophone's principles found their first practical applications in military communications and later in fiber-optic communications. [4] [5]

Electric wireless technology

Early wireless

A number of wireless electrical signaling schemes including sending electric currents through water and the ground using electrostatic and electromagnetic induction were investigated for telegraphy in the late 19th century before practical radio systems became available. These included a patented induction system by Thomas Edison allowing a telegraph on a running train to connect with telegraph wires running parallel to the tracks, a William Preece induction telegraph system for sending messages across bodies of water, and several operational and proposed telegraphy and voice earth conduction systems.

The Edison system was used by stranded trains during the Great Blizzard of 1888 and earth conductive systems found limited use between trenches during World War I but these systems were never successful economically.

Radio waves

Marconi transmitting the first radio signal across the Atlantic. Guglielmo Marconi 1901 wireless signal.jpg
Marconi transmitting the first radio signal across the Atlantic.

In 1894, Guglielmo Marconi began developing a wireless telegraph system using radio waves, which had been known about since proof of their existence in 1888 by Heinrich Hertz, but discounted as a communication format since they seemed, at the time, to be a short range phenomenon. [6] Marconi soon developed a system that was transmitting signals way beyond distances anyone could have predicted (due in part to the signals bouncing off the then unknown ionosphere). Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun were awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize for Physics for their contribution to this form of wireless telegraphy.

Millimetre wave communication was first investigated by Jagadish Chandra Bose during 18941896, when he reached an extremely high frequency of up to 60  GHz in his experiments. [7] He also introduced the use of semiconductor junctions to detect radio waves, [8] when he patented the radio crystal detector in 1901. [9] [10]

Wireless revolution

Power MOSFETs, which are used in RF power amplifiers to boost radio frequency (RF) signals in long-distance wireless networks. D2PAK.JPG
Power MOSFETs, which are used in RF power amplifiers to boost radio frequency (RF) signals in long-distance wireless networks.

The wireless revolution began in the 1990s, [11] [12] [13] with the advent of digital wireless networks leading to a social revolution, and a paradigm shift from wired to wireless technology, [14] including the proliferation of commercial wireless technologies such as cell phones, mobile telephony, pagers, wireless computer networks, [11] cellular networks, the wireless Internet, and laptop and handheld computers with wireless connections. [15] The wireless revolution has been driven by advances in radio frequency (RF) and microwave engineering, [11] and the transition from analog to digital RF technology, [14] [15] which enabled a substantial increase in voice traffic along with the delivery of digital data such as text messaging, images and streaming media. [14]

The core component of this revolution is the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor). [14] [16] Power MOSFETs such as LDMOS (lateral-diffused MOS) are used in RF power amplifiers to boost RF signals to a level that enables long-distance wireless network access for consumers, [14] while RF CMOS (radio frequency CMOS) circuits are used in radio transceivers to transmit and receive wireless signals at low cost and with low power consumption. [17] [18] [16] The MOSFET is the basic building block of modern wireless networks, including mobile networks such as 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. [19] [14] Most of the essential elements in modern wireless networks are built from MOSFETs, including the base station modules, routers, [19] RF circuits, radio transceivers, [17] transmitters, [11] and RF power amplifiers. [14] MOSFET scaling is also the primary factor behind rapidly increasing wireless network bandwidth, which has been doubling every 18 months, [14] as noted by Edholm's law. [20]

The MOSFET was invented by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959. [21] Its very large-scale integration (VLSI) capability led to wide adoption for digital integrated circuit chips by the early 1970s, [22] but it was initially not the most effective transistor for analog RF technology where the older bipolar junction transistor (BJT) remained dominant up until the 1980s. [14] A gradual shift began with the emergence of power MOSFETs, which are discrete MOS power devices designed for power electronic applications, [21] including the vertical power MOSFET by Hitachi in 1969, [23] [24] the VDMOS (vertical-diffused MOS) by John Moll's research team at HP Labs in 1977, [24] and the LDMOS by Hitachi in 1977. [25] MOSFETs began to be used for RF applications in the 1970s. [11] RF CMOS, which are RF circuits that use mixed-signal (digital and analog) MOS integrated circuit technology and are fabricated using the CMOS process, was later developed by Asad Abidi at UCLA in the late 1980s. [17]

By the early 1990s, the MOSFET had replaced the BJT as the core component of RF technology, leading to a revolution in wireless technology. [14] There was a rapid growth of the wireless telecommunications industry towards the end of the 20th century, primarily due to the introduction of digital signal processing in wireless communications, driven by the development of low-cost, very large-scale integration (VLSI) RF CMOS technology. [16] Power MOSFET devices, particularly the LDMOS, also became the standard RF power amplifier technology, which led to the development and proliferation of digital wireless networks. [14] [19]

RF CMOS integrated circuits enabled sophisticated, low-cost and portable end-user terminals, and gave rise to small, low-cost, low-power and portable units for a wide range of wireless communication systems. This enabled "anytime, anywhere" communication and helped bring about the wireless revolution, leading to the rapid growth of the wireless industry. [18] RF CMOS is used in the radio transceivers of all modern wireless networking devices and mobile phones, [17] and is widely used to transmit and receive wireless signals in a variety of applications, such as satellite technology (e.g. GPS), bluetooth, Wi-Fi, near-field communication (NFC), mobile networks (e.g. 3G and 4G), terrestrial broadcast, and automotive radar applications, among other uses. [26]

In recent years, an important contribution to the growth of wireless communication networks has been interference alignment, which was discovered by Syed Ali Jafar at the University of California, Irvine. [27] According to Paul Horn, this has "revolutionized our understanding of the capacity limits of wireless networks" and "demonstrated the astounding result that each user in a wireless network can access half of the spectrum without interference from other users, regardless of how many users are sharing the spectrum". [27]

Modes

Wireless communications can be via:

Radio

Radio and microwave communication carry information by modulating properties of electromagnetic waves transmitted through space.

Free-space optical

An 8-beam free space optics laser link, rated for 1 Gbit/s at a distance of approximately 2 km. The receptor is the large disc in the middle, the transmitters the smaller ones. To the top and right corner a monocular for assisting the alignment of the two heads. FSO-gigabit-laser-link-0a.jpg
An 8-beam free space optics laser link, rated for 1 Gbit/s at a distance of approximately 2 km. The receptor is the large disc in the middle, the transmitters the smaller ones. To the top and right corner a monocular for assisting the alignment of the two heads.

Free-space optical communication (FSO) is an optical communication technology that uses light propagating in free space to transmit wirelessly data for telecommunications or computer networking. "Free space" means the light beams travel through the open air or outer space. This contrasts with other communication technologies that use light beams traveling through transmission lines such as optical fiber or dielectric "light pipes".

The technology is useful where physical connections are impractical due to high costs or other considerations. For example, free space optical links are used in cities between office buildings which are not wired for networking, where the cost of running cable through the building and under the street would be prohibitive. Another widely used example is consumer IR devices such as remote controls and IrDA (Infrared Data Association) networking, which is used as an alternative to WiFi networking to allow laptops, PDAs, printers, and digital cameras to exchange data.

Sonic

Sonic, especially ultrasonic short range communication involves the transmission and reception of sound.

Electromagnetic induction

Electromagnetic induction only allows short-range communication and power transmission. It has been used in biomedical situations such as pacemakers, as well as for short-range RFID tags.

Services

Common examples of wireless equipment include: [28]

Electromagnetic spectrum

AM and FM radios and other electronic devices make use of the electromagnetic spectrum. The frequencies of the radio spectrum that are available for use for communication are treated as a public resource and are regulated by organizations such as the American Federal Communications Commission, Ofcom in the United Kingdom, the international ITU-R or the European ETSI. Their regulations determine which frequency ranges can be used for what purpose and by whom. In the absence of such control or alternative arrangements such as a privatized electromagnetic spectrum, chaos might result if, for example, airlines did not have specific frequencies to work under and an amateur radio operator was interfering with a pilot's ability to land an aircraft. Wireless communication spans the spectrum from 9 kHz to 300 GHz.[ citation needed ]

Applications

Mobile telephones

One of the best-known examples of wireless technology is the mobile phone, also known as a cellular phone, with more than 6.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide as of the end of 2010. [30] These wireless phones use radio waves from signal-transmission towers to enable their users to make phone calls from many locations worldwide. They can be used within range of the mobile telephone site used to house the equipment required to transmit and receive the radio signals from these instruments. [31]

Data communications

Wireless data communications allows wireless networking between desktop computers, laptops, tablet computers, cell phones and other related devices. The various available technologies differ in local availability, coverage range and performance, [32] [33] and in some circumstances users employ multiple connection types and switch between them using connection manager software [34] [35] or a mobile VPN to handle the multiple connections as a secure, single virtual network. [36] Supporting technologies include:

Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network that enables portable computing devices to connect easily with other devices, peripheries, and the Internet. [37] Standardized as IEEE 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, ax, Wi-Fi has link speeds similar to older standards of wired Ethernet. Wi-Fi has become the de facto standard for access in private homes, within offices, and at public hotspots. [38] Some businesses charge customers a monthly fee for service, while others have begun offering it free in an effort to increase the sales of their goods. [39]
Cellular data service offers coverage within a range of 10-15 miles from the nearest cell site. [32] Speeds have increased as technologies have evolved, from earlier technologies such as GSM, CDMA and GPRS, through 3G, to 4G networks such as W-CDMA, EDGE or CDMA2000. [40] [41] As of 2018, the proposed next generation is 5G.
Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) bridge the gap between Wi-Fi and Cellular for low bitrate Internet of things (IoT) applications.
Mobile-satellite communications may be used where other wireless connections are unavailable, such as in largely rural areas [42] or remote locations. [32] Satellite communications are especially important for transportation, aviation, maritime and military use. [43]
Wireless sensor networks are responsible for sensing noise, interference, and activity in data collection networks. This allows us to detect relevant quantities, monitor and collect data, formulate clear user displays, and to perform decision-making functions [44]

Wireless data communications are used to span a distance beyond the capabilities of typical cabling in point-to-point communication and point-to-multipoint communication, to provide a backup communications link in case of normal network failure, to link portable or temporary workstations, to overcome situations where normal cabling is difficult or financially impractical, or to remotely connect mobile users or networks.

Peripherals

Peripheral devices in computing can also be connected wirelessly, as part of a Wi-Fi network or directly via an optical or radio-frequency (RF) peripheral interface. Originally these units used bulky, highly local transceivers to mediate between a computer and a keyboard and mouse; however, more recent generations have used smaller, higher-performance devices. Radio-frequency interfaces, such as Bluetooth or Wireless USB, provide greater ranges of efficient use, usually up to 10 feet, but distance, physical obstacles, competing signals, and even human bodies can all degrade the signal quality. [45] Concerns about the security of wireless keyboards arose at the end of 2007, when it was revealed that Microsoft's implementation of encryption in some of its 27 MHz models was highly insecure. [46]

Energy transfer

Wireless energy transfer is a process whereby electrical energy is transmitted from a power source to an electrical load that does not have a built-in power source, without the use of interconnecting wires. There are two different fundamental methods for wireless energy transfer. Energy can be transferred using either far-field methods that involve beaming power/lasers, radio or microwave transmissions or near-field using electromagnetic induction. [47] Wireless energy transfer may be combined with wireless information transmission in what is known as Wireless Powered Communication. [48]

Medical technologies

New wireless technologies, such as mobile body area networks (MBAN), have the capability to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and body temperature. The MBAN works by sending low powered wireless signals to receivers that feed into nursing stations or monitoring sites. This technology helps with the intentional and unintentional risk of infection or disconnection that arise from wired connections. [49]

Categories of implementations, devices and standards

See also

Related Research Articles

The ISM radio bands are portions of the radio spectrum reserved internationally for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) purposes other than telecommunications. Examples of applications for the use of radio frequency (RF) energy in these bands include radio-frequency process heating, microwave ovens, and medical diathermy machines. The powerful emissions of these devices can create electromagnetic interference and disrupt radio communication using the same frequency, so these devices are limited to certain bands of frequencies. In general, communications equipment operating in these bands must tolerate any interference generated by ISM applications, and users have no regulatory protection from ISM device operation.

Wireless network any network at least partly not connected by physical cables of any kind

A wireless network is a computer network that uses wireless data connections between network nodes.

CMOS Technology for constructing integrated circuits

Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS), also known as complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (COS-MOS), is a type of metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) fabrication process that uses complementary and symmetrical pairs of p-type and n-type MOSFETs for logic functions. CMOS technology is used for constructing integrated circuit (IC) chips, including microprocessors, microcontrollers, memory chips, and other digital logic circuits, and replaced earlier transistor-transistor logic (TTL) technology. CMOS technology is also used for analog circuits such as image sensors, data converters, RF circuits, and highly integrated transceivers for many types of communication.

Wi-Fi Wireless local area networks technology based on IEEEs 802.11 standards

Wi-Fi is a family of wireless network protocols, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access. Wi‑Fi is a trademark of the non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance, which restricts the use of the term Wi-Fi Certified to products that successfully complete interoperability certification testing. As of 2017, the Wi-Fi Alliance consisted of more than 800 companies from around the world. As of 2018, over 2.97 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices shipped globally each year. Devices that can use Wi-Fi technologies include personal computer desktops and laptops, smartphones and tablets, smart TVs, printers, smart speakers, cars, and drones.

Base station

Base station is – according to the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Radio Regulations (RR) – a "land station in the land mobile service."

The S band is a designation by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for a part of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum covering frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz (GHz). Thus it crosses the conventional boundary between the UHF and SHF bands at 3.0 GHz. The S band is used by airport surveillance radar for air traffic control, weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites, especially those used by NASA to communicate with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. The 10 cm radar short-band ranges roughly from 1.55 to 5.2 GHz. The S band also contains the 2.4–2.483 GHz ISM band, widely used for low power unlicensed microwave devices such as cordless phones, wireless headphones (Bluetooth), wireless networking (WiFi), garage door openers, keyless vehicle locks, baby monitors as well as for medical diathermy machines and microwave ovens. India's regional satellite navigation network (IRNSS) broadcasts on 2.483778 to 2.500278 GHz.

Cellular network communication network where the last link is wireless

A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the last link is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver, but more normally, three cell sites or base transceiver stations. These base stations provide the cell with the network coverage which can be used for transmission of voice, data, and other types of content. A cell typically uses a different set of frequencies from neighbouring cells, to avoid interference and provide guaranteed service quality within each cell.

Electromagnetic interference Disturbance in an electrical circuit due to external sources of radio waves

Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio-frequency interference (RFI) when in the radio frequency spectrum, is a disturbance generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. The disturbance may degrade the performance of the circuit or even stop it from functioning. In the case of a data path, these effects can range from an increase in error rate to a total loss of the data. Both man-made and natural sources generate changing electrical currents and voltages that can cause EMI: ignition systems, cellular network of mobile phones, lightning, solar flares, and auroras. EMI frequently affects AM radios. It can also affect mobile phones, FM radios, and televisions, as well as observations for radio astronomy and atmospheric science.

A mixed-signal integrated circuit is any integrated circuit that has both analog circuits and digital circuits on a single semiconductor die. In real-life applications mixed-signal designs are everywhere, for example, smart mobile phones. Mixed-signal ICs also process both analog and digital signals together. For example, an analog-to-digital converter is a mixed-signal circuit. Mixed-signal circuits or systems are typically cost-effective solutions for building any modern consumer electronics applications.

HomeRF organization

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History of telecommunication aspect of history relating to telecommunications

The history of telecommunication began with the use of smoke signals and drums in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In the 1790s, the first fixed semaphore systems emerged in Europe. However, it was not until the 1830s that electrical telecommunication systems started to appear. This article details the history of telecommunication and the individuals who helped make telecommunication systems what they are today. The history of telecommunication is an important part of the larger history of communication.

RF power amplifier

A radio frequency power amplifier is a type of electronic amplifier that converts a low-power radio-frequency signal into a higher power signal. Typically, RF power amplifiers drive the antenna of a transmitter. Design goals often include gain, power output, bandwidth, power efficiency, linearity, input and output impedance matching, and heat dissipation.

Mobile broadband marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, USB wireless modem, or a tablet/smartphone or other mobile device

Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, USB wireless modem, or a tablet/smartphone or other mobile device. The first wireless Internet access became available in 1991 as part of the second generation (2G) of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available in 2001 and 2006 as part of the third (3G) and fourth (4G) generations. In 2011, 90% of the world's population lived in areas with 2G coverage, while 45% lived in areas with 2G and 3G coverage. Mobile broadband uses the spectrum of 225 MHz to 3700 MHz.

Edholm's law, proposed by and named after Phil Edholm, refers to the observation that the three categories of telecommunication, namely wireless (mobile), nomadic and wired networks (fixed), are in lockstep and gradually converging. Edholm's law also holds that data rates for these telecommunications categories increase on similar exponential curves, with the slower rates trailing the faster ones by a predictable time lag. Edholm's law predicts that the bandwidth and data rates double every 18 months, which has proven to be true since the 1970s. The trend is evident in the cases of Internet, cellular (mobile), wireless LAN and wireless personal area networks.

Radio-frequency (RF) engineering is a subset of electronic engineering involving the application of transmission line, waveguide, antenna and electromagnetic field principles to the design and application of devices that produce or utilize signals within the radio band, the frequency range of about 20 kHz up to 300 GHz.

LDMOS is a planar double-diffused MOSFET used in amplifiers, including microwave power amplifiers, RF power amplifiers and audio power amplifiers. These transistors are often fabricated on p/p+ silicon epitaxial layers. The fabrication of LDMOS devices mostly involves various ion-implantation and subsequent annealing cycles. As an example, The drift region of this power MOSFET is fabricated using up to three ion implantation sequences in order to achieve the appropriate doping profile needed to withstand high electric fields.

RF module

An RF module is a (usually) small electronic device used to transmit and/or receive radio signals between two devices. In an embedded system it is often desirable to communicate with another device wirelessly. This wireless communication may be accomplished through optical communication or through radio-frequency (RF) communication. For many applications, the medium of choice is RF since it does not require line of sight. RF communications incorporate a transmitter and a receiver. They are of various types and ranges. Some can transmit up to 500 feet. RF modules are typically fabricated using RF CMOS technology.

Telecommunication Transmission of information between locations using electromagnetic technology

Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than that feasible with the human voice, but with a similar scale of expediency; thus, slow systems are excluded from the field.

RF CMOS is a metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit (IC) technology that integrates radio-frequency (RF), analog and digital electronics on a mixed-signal CMOS RF circuit chip. It is widely used in modern wireless telecommunications, such as cellular networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS receivers, broadcasting, vehicular communication systems, and the radio transceivers in all modern mobile phones and wireless networking devices. RF CMOS technology was pioneered by Pakistani engineer Asad Ali Abidi at UCLA during the late 1980s to early 1990s, and helped bring about the wireless revolution with the introduction of digital signal processing in wireless communications.

MOSFET applications Wikimedia list article

The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET, MOS-FET, or MOS FET), also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor (MOS transistor, or MOS), is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor (IGFET) that is fabricated by the controlled oxidation of a semiconductor, typically silicon. The voltage of the covered gate determines the electrical conductivity of the device; this ability to change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The MOSFET was invented by Egyptian engineer Mohamed M. Atalla and Korean engineer Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959. It is the basic building block of modern electronics, and the most frequently manufactured device in history, with an estimated total of 13 sextillion (1.3 × 1022) MOSFETs manufactured between 1960 and 2018.

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Further reading