Types of Wireless Network: An Overview of Wireless Network Standards, Technologies, and Security (2024)

The in’s and out’s of wireless technology, from wireless network security to wireless connections and standards

Types of Wireless Networks

The wireless connections that are widely present in our world today are sensorily unperceivable, and with wireless technology advancing so rapidly, the questions surrounding these advances, understandably, surges as well. As wireless networks become integral parts of our daily lives, powering everything from smartphones and laptops to smart homes and industrial automation, it is helpful to examine the different types of wireless networks we may interact with. Foreground the impact LiFi technology has in comparison to existing technologies, this article discusses wireless data transfer technologies, wireless network security measures, wireless standards, and the evolution of these connections that arise in everyday life applications.

But first…

1. What is wireless internet?

Wireless internet simply refers to a technology that allows devices to connect to the internet without the need for physical wires or cables. Unlike traditional wired connections, wireless connectivity mobilizes radio signals or visible light communication (VLC) signals to transmit data between access points. The most common form of wireless internet is Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity), which uses radio signals or radio frequencies (RF) to establish wireless connections between devices and a wireless router or access point. This type of wireless connectivity, however, has some clear downsides in comparison to VLC signals, including possible electromagnetic effects, limited spectral availability, and its greater power consumption. And although it is the most widely used form of wireless internet, it has not historically proven to be the most secure. LiFi (Light Fidelity Technology), on the other hand, prioritizes wireless internet security and is projected to become the touchstone of secure network connections with its unlimited spectral availability and its relatively low power consumption. As wireless internet goes, LiFi is the forerunner in security. Light signals cannot penetrate walls, ultimately confining the optical wireless transmissions to the room in which they originate.

2. Different Types of Wireless Technologies

  • LiFi:

    Oledcomm’s champion, light fidelity technology is a wireless communication technology that uses infrared light for data transmission. Some of the benefits include high-speed data transfer, greater bandwidth, enhanced wireless network security, lower interference, energy efficiency, and reduced electromagnetic sensitivity in environments where that is a concern.

    Oledcomm's LiFiMAX

    Image by Freepik

  • Bluetooth:

    Designed for short-range communication, Bluetooth enables wireless connectivity between devices like headphones, keyboards, and IoT devices. Bluetooth 5.0 and later versions offer improved speed, range, and wireless connectivity capabilities in devices.

  • Zigbee:

    Zigbee is a low-power, low-data-rate wireless communication standard commonly used in smart home applications. It is known for its energy efficiency, making it suitable for devices with limited power sources.

Learn more:About LiFi Technology

3. The Types of Wireless Network

  • Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN):

    WPANs are short-range wireless networks designed for personal devices within a close proximity. This is the most common in homes and small offices, and aligns with LiFi technology’s fast, secure, short-range transmission capabilities. Examples include Bluetooth and Zigbee, connecting devices like smartphones, tablets, and smart home gadgets.

  • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN):

    WLANs cover a more extensive area, often within a building or campus. Wi-Fi is interchangeable with WLAN technology, and could benefit from the wireless standards and interoperability of the Li-Fi standard. In conjunction with these technologies, LiFi could provide secure, cost and energy efficient connectivity and serve high-density regions and high demand for connectivity.

    Wireless Local Area Network

    Image by Freepik

  • Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN):

    WMANs cover larger areas than WLANs do, connecting devices across a city or metropolitan area, but are generally smaller than a Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN). An Internet Service Provider (ISP), government entity, or large corporation are largely responsible for WMANs, and are the permissive entities that authorize access.

  • Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN):

    WWANs cover vast geographical areas, and are often provided by cellular networks and satellite technology. 4G LTE and 5G are examples of WWAN technologies, offering high-speed internet access to mobile devices globally.

    The types of wireless network and their applications are largely dependent on the area that the network needs to service or cover, and will turn to Li-Fi wireless technology as it becomes ever-more cost-efficient, environmentally conscious, fast, and secure.

Wireless Network Security: Accessibility, Authentication, and Remote Wireless Connections

Why is Li-Fi so secure?

With the nature of visible light communication and its closeness on the spectrum to infrared light, we can see that they behave relatively similarly. Both types of light are able to pass through glass, for example, but not through walls, which means that these wireless transmissions are restricted within the room from which they originate. This confinement makes these communications inaccessible, and it prevents interference between links deploying in other rooms. Li-Fi, therefore, can very well achieve a very high total connectivity capacity, as well as a simplified design, since transmissions do not need to be coordinated in order to operate.

Authentication and Encryption

Wireless internet security measures that implement robust authentication mechanisms ensures that only authorized users can access the network. Encryption, such as WPA3 for Wi-Fi, secures data transmission, protecting it from unsanctioned interception.

Firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS):

Firewalls act as barriers between a private network and external threats, controlling incoming and outgoing traffic. IDS monitor network or system activities for malicious activities or security policy violations, prioritizing wireless internet security.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs):

VPNs create a secure, encrypted connection over the internet, allowing users to access a private network from a remote location. These somewhat amorphous wireless technologies are ideal for protecting sensitive data during remote work or while using public Wi-Fi networks.

Like any system requiring protection, conducting regular security audits and periodic security updates helps identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the network. For example, WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3) succeeds WPA2, and is a revamp that enhances protection against brute-force attacks, improves key exchange protocols, and offers individualized data encryption for each device on a WiFi network. Staying up to date with these advances in wireless internet security and implementing recent software updates and patches can ensure protection against security threats.

Welcomed Advances in Wireless Standards & Fast Data Transmission

It’s been about a decade since we’ve known that flashing light bulbs can transmit beyond the reaches of simple TV LEDs and provide a channel for considerable amounts of wireless data transmission. It is with the fabled 802.11bb wireless standards, the lifi standard released and formally approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), that a theoretical 9.6Gb/s top throughput reinvents the horizons for high-speed data transmission. Looking to learn more? The IEEE task group has got you covered with this 59-page PDF of 802 wireless light communication standards.

As we continue to interact with and navigate the wireless landscape, we also continue to develop an understanding of the diverse types of wireless networks, how to implement robust security measures within established standards, and how to stay updated on evolving technologies. The types of wireless network are vast too - whether it's for the convenience of connecting devices through Bluetooth, the ubiquitous Wi-Fi networks in our homes and offices, or the emerging presence of Light Fidelity Technology. Li-Fi aims to prioritize wireless internet security, which will only further the global connectivity facilitated by cellular networks and the world of wireless communication that continues to shape the way we live, work, and play. By embracing these technologies and securing them effectively, there is immense potential for wireless connectivity and wireless technology to enable further technological advances worldwide.

Oledcomm is committed to pursuing and providing the fastest, most confidential and secure wireless connection in the ever–developing wireless landscape. Whether you’re a healthcare provider, interested in learning how to revamp your home with light-speed connectivity, or looking to see how the Li-Fi internet can change the face of your business, contact us for more information about our LiFi solutions.

Wireless internet is a network that allows devices to connect to the internet without the need for physical cables or wires. It is a system that uses radio waves and infrared signals to facilitate the data transfer between devices and a network.
WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) is the most widely used wireless technology and uses radio frequencies to facilitate a connection and transmit data between a network and devices by using the IEEE’s 802.11 standards; however, it is found that it is not the most secure connection and signals are prone to interception.
Light fidelity (also known as LiFi) technology facilitates wireless connection between a network and devices using the IEEE’s newly minted 802.11bb standard. This protocol allows for the data transfer using the frequencies of the light band, ensuring a higher standard for security and faster transmissions.
LiFi boasts a higher security capacity than its wireless competitors due to the directness of the access point and the device, with the light signals being transmitted in the same room as they are being received, it succeeds in limiting signal interception.
The 802.11bb wireless standards released by the IEEE encompasses the protocols that ensure interoperability of light fidelity technology with other wireless technologies, as well as ensure the network is safeguarded by encryption protocols, authentication mechanisms, and secure key exchange procedures.

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