Chapter 3

Network Technologies

3.1. Local connectivity and networks

Local connectivity means that two or more devices communicate with one another within a geographically limited area. Networks comprising such entities are known as local area networks (LANs). LANs have been increasing in complexity over the past decade. Initially, a LAN was only composed of computers in a controlled environment, such as an office or a home, with the aim to share resources (i.e. printers, disk space) and to enable communication between them. Today, however, the equipment or nodes that can participate in a LAN have varied substantially, from personal computers (PCs) to personal digital assistants (PDA), mobile phones, various types of sensors, even radiofrequency identification (RFID) chipsets. As a consequence, numerous LAN technologies have appeared so as to connect such heterogeneous devices in a local environment, involving hardware and software components.

Subsequent sections will be focused on the different LAN technologies that have been developed to cover home user requirements, with the aim to illustrate the principal alternatives that can be deployed in a home environment. We will start the analysis with a brief description of the relationship between the existing technologies.

3.1.1. Background of LAN technologies

Ethernet is the most widely deployed technology for high performance in LAN environments. Although its origins date back to 1972, it was ratified by the Institute of Electrical ...

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