Next: Interconnection technology Up: In-building Communications Previous: The requirement

Wireless advantages and disadvantages

One of the major problems that presents itself is the already limited spectrum available for communications. The remaining free spectrum has to be used to its maximum potential, spread spectrum technology presenting itself as a suitable means of increasing performance. Splitting up of the environment into a number of small cells also increases the overall accessible bandwidth of the communication system, but also increases the cost as more cell sites are required. Techniques such as diversity combining can also be used to increase the available bandwidth through improved reception capabilities.

Where a large number of devices, each being of a low power, are transmitting, a sizable amount of radio power is being generated. The effects of radio communication on human health are being examined [19], however much more work is required in this area before large scale communication systems are developed.

The unconstrained nature of the communication medium of radio requires the issue of network security to be addressed. Verification of communication entities must also be performed to ensure that only registered devices may communicate using the network, and that only registered devices may receive the data. Some form of encryption may be required for communications to avoid interception of data transmitted over the network by devices not taking part in the communications.

In addition to security considerations from external devices accessing the network, interfering signals can be generated by other devices in the office environment, for example printers and other electromechanical devices. These devices can temporarily disrupt a communication link through the noise that they generate.

A wireless communication system has a number of advantages, not least the mobility of the devices within the environment. It is a simple matter to relocate a communicating device, and no additional cost of rewiring and excessive downtime is associated with such a move. It is also a simple matter to add in a communication device to the system or remove one from the system without any disruption to the remainder of the system. Other than the initial outlay on setting up the cell sites, the cost of running and maintaining a radio based communications solution is minimal. These, and other factors, show the appeal that a radio communication system has for the office environment.



Next: Interconnection technology Up: In-building Communications Previous: The requirement


Dave.Laurenson@ed.ac.uk