Wireless or Wired? The two technologies compared: history and differences

Wireless and wired: two technologies compared in a world in which communicating, processing or transmitting information is increasingly of vital importance. The whole computer has developed to manipulate and transmit information automatically.

Wireless and Wired

With the term wireless we mean a type of communication between electronic devices that does not use cables . The more traditional systems, on the other hand, use wired connections (i.e. with wires): in this case we use the term wired. The technologies commonly used for wireless are low-power radio waves. Specifically, what are the advantages of using wireless?

  • The elimination of the physical connection between the various devices;
  • the possibility of being able to make a connection in environments not suitable for wiring;
  • a reduction in the costs of network infrastructures and their maintenance;
  • connectivity for users on the move;
  • greater scalability.
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From wired to wireless: the radio

The first radio signal sent dates back to 1894, by our brilliant inventor Guglielmo Marconi . This first wireless technology has changed and revolutionized the ways of communicating and receiving information. We have gone from the early 20th century amplitude modulation (AM) radios to a multitude of wireless units today. These technologies have undergone such a rapid and rapid evolution that they have become an essential element for economic growth , the definition of new industrial activities and the creation of new services and products.

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In February 1896, Guglielmo Marconi presented his equipment to the authorities, which had been suitably developed to send signals without wires. On 2 June of the same year he submitted an application to patent his invention. Together with Mr. W. Preece , his collaborator and a leading electrical engineer at the British Post-office Telegraphs, carried out many tests. In a test carried out in the same year at Salisbury Plain they sent a series of radio signals that reached a distance of 2 miles. They later managed to cover a greater distance, while on May 13 a communication was established between Lavernock Point and Brean Down that covered a distance of eight miles.

While in Europe Marconi designed and created, in America many scholars followed with interest the successes obtained in the field. Despite this, no one immediately understood the commercial potential of this new technology. After various tests and the installation of radio devices in various countries on 11 December 1901 there was the reception by Marconi in St Johns, Newfoundland, of what has become known as the famous letter 'S'. In Morse the letter 'S' is encoded with three dots, transmitted as a test signal from its English station.

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Developments in technology

Packet Data technology was developed in the mid-1960s and was soon used in the ARPANET project, the first packet-switched network and progenitor of the internet . In 1970, in order to connect computers on the islands without using the telephone network, the Alohanet program was developed at the University of Hawaii. Alohanet was the first large-scale packet data radio project. Wireless technology began to spread in the 1980s, during which sharing data between computers became increasingly important.

In those years infrared transceivers were used, but this technology did not have great developments having many limitations. The main problems consisted in not being able to pass through most of the materials and in some applications the perfect precision required in the alignment between emitter and receiver. Then the need arose for clean technology, with the ability to cross obstacles and be used in any work environment and beyond. Thus, wireless technology based on radio signals makes its way.

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At the beginning of the 90s the development of the processing capacities of the processors made it possible to efficiently manage the transceiving of signals via radio. The first implementations proved expensive with the disadvantage of not being able to communicate between different systems as there is no compatibility between networks. At that point, the newborn standard created by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) came to the rescue , 802.11, with the aim of creating a global standard for free band networks without the need to use any license. The IEEE engineers had to solve some problems:

  • interoperability between equipment;
  • the use of technology developed anywhere in the world;
  • use in indoor and outdoor environments.

The 802.11 technology required a frequency free from any bureaucratic constraint, and for this reason 2.4 Ghz was chosen , a free band that did not require any license, reserved for industrial, scientific and medical uses.

The article Wireless or Wired? Comparing the two technologies: history and differences was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .