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FIGURE 1.10 An example of an RF multipoint network

There are many different brands, makes, and models of RF LAN equipment. This used to be a source of difficulty with LAN installers. In the infancy of RF wireless networking, every company used different frequencies, different encoding schemes, different antennas, and different wireless protocols. The marketplace was screaming for a standard to be proposed. For this reason, the IEEE 802.11 standard was developed. 802.11 is a networking standard that specifies various protocols for wireless networking. It does in fact specify that either infrared or RF can be used for the wireless network, but most RF systems are the only ones advertising IEEE 802.11 compliance.

Table 1.1 shows some examples of the RF wireless networking products available at the time of writing this book. This table shows which RF technology each product uses as well as its primary application.

TABLE 1.1 Available RF Wireless Networking Product Examples


RF Technology





Spread Spectrum

Multipoint and ad hoc

1 to 3Mbps



Spread Spectrum


1 to 11Mbps

Apple’s AirPort

Spread Spectrum



Backbones and Segments

With complex networks, we must have a way of intelligently identifying which part of the network we are discussing. For this reason, we commonly break networks into backbones and segments. Figure 1.11 shows a sample network and identifies the backbones and segments. You should refer to this figure when necessary as you read about backbones and segments.

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