Wide-area and Personal-area Communications 41
Chapter 3
drives consumerism, accompanied with an unguided and untested stream of expecta-
tions? Or perhaps, do we have a team of techno-geeks, riding a wave of techie-ness
claiming that this all new signing-and-dancing gadget will undoubtedly revolutionize
someones life? Let’s hope that this dichotomy of expectation and needs converge to
ultimately guide the revolution.
Summary
Wireless communications as a transport medium has enabled electronic devices to
exchange data wirelessly, transparently and effortlessly.
It wasnt until the 1940s that we saw the emergence of commercial digital wireless
and cellular technology.
Wide-area and personal-area communications share a common radio medium in
which data is transferred between electronic devices.
Consumer perception and usage scenarios distinguish wide- and personal-area
technologies.
Cellular and satellite communication are tried and trusted technologies that have
been around for many years.
Weve come to know wide-area communications as telecommunications.
With telecommunications, users have been able to establish a level of familiarity
where the wireless capability is no longer the perceived application.
New wireless technology focuses on the development of personal-area
communications.
Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMAX and so on, afford the user greater flexibility in their
personal and/or working environment.
Personal-area technology allows users to create their own personal communications
environment.
Wide- and personal-area communications may overlap, where the combination of
each environment allows the user to exchange data over distance.
One distinction that can be made between wide- and personal-area is familiarity.
Users no longer perceive a cell phone as a wireless-enabled product.
This notion holds true for the cordless telephone.
Users may only perceive the intended telephone functionality, rather than its
inherent wireless capability.
In time we will see users adopting the same familiarity with a cell phone and a
Bluetooth-enabled headset, for example.
There has been an emergence of generations of wide-area technologies each
depicting the advancement of applications and digital capability.
The generation of telecommunications started with 1G and has evolved to 2G,
2.75G and 3G.
Many companies are sketching out 4G, but its still unclear what this will actually
mean.
Some argue that 4G will in fact become wireless convergence, the amalgamation
of personal-area and wide-area technologies.
Companies are striving to achieve added-value and improved services and applications.
A new host of wide-area applications will emerge extending the notion of mobility.
Personal-area focuses on the ability to be mobile and free from the constraints of
a fixed environment.
We need to ensure that the direction of wireless technology justifies a particular
need that, in turn, becomes well suited to meet the expectations of the consumers.
We need to question who is in the driving seat of the new technology revolution.
A combination of “marketers and techno-geeks” will ultimately guide the revolution.
42 Developing Practical Wireless Applications

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