Wireless Data Transmission Methods

By Jedadiah Casey

For several years, technology has progressed to the point where many different kinds of data can be transmitted using wireless technology. There are several wireless data transmission methods utilizing different technologies to transmit data in the most efficient and effective way for the particular application. Common wireless data transmission methods include infrared, 802.11-based and 802.15-based.

Infrared

Infrared technology used for data transmissions has been around for several years. By far, the most popular application of this technology is for a television remote control. However, infrared can be used for purposes other than remotes. Infrared technology is designed for data transmission over very short distances. For example, two computers with infrared transceivers can communicate wirelessly as long as they have a short line-of-sight connection, generally within one meter.

802.11-based

802.11-based wireless data transmission includes the standards popular in wireless networking, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and, most recently as of December 2010, 802.11n. These standards are used in computers and devices such as smart phones. While infrared technology uses a portion of the sub-visible light spectrum, 802.11 uses either the 2.4 or 5 GHz range of radio waves to propagate data.

802.15-based

By far, the most common 802.15-based wireless data transmission method is the Bluetooth standard. Bluetooth also uses the 2.4 GHz wireless spectrum range of radio waves. However, Bluetooth differs from 802.11 technology in part due to the distance over which two devices must be to communicate. 802.15 is considered a "Personal Area Network" technology and has a very limited signal range to transmit data.