CCNA Wireless Study Guide
Waves, Frequencies, and RF
– Wireless starts and ends with waves, specifically radio waves. There are differentmodulation techniques to encode data onto a carrier wave signal. These techniques differ between the 3 (now 4 with N) flavors of wireless, A, B, and G.
DSSS (Direct SequenceSpread Spectrum)
is the modulation technique used by 802.11b, which uses “chippingcodes” to send redundant data to allow for interference.
OFDM (Orthogonal FrequencyDivision Multiplexing)
is the modulation technique used by 802.11a and 802.11g. Thistechnique divides a channel into multiple subcarriers, similar to how a T1 is divided up. Datais sent simultaneously over these subchannels to achieve redundancy and a combined higher data rate.
MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output)
is the modulation technique used by802.11n and allows a device to use more than 1 antenna for sending data and 1 antenna for receiving data. This is the main thing that helps N products achieve such higher data ratesthan a and b/g, along with many other advances in how signals are processed.
– All wireless devices use unlicensed frequencies, meaning that you do not haveto apply for a license from the FCC to use them and they are subject to interference fromother devices. Within the frequencies assigned to a and b/g there are also “channels,” whichare the portion of the frequency that an individual device can use. This is less important for 802.11a devices as AP’s using 802.11a will automatically sense and choose a channel that isless likely to conflict with the AP’s around it. A also has a lot more non-overlapping channelsto choose from – 23 within the
5GHz range of 802.11a
. 802.11b only has 3 non-overlappingchannels to choose from within the
2.4Ghz range 802.11b
uses. If 2 AP’s next to each other are transmitting at on the same channel, the signal to noise ratio will rise and the bandwidthavailable will decrease.
– Radio Frequency waves behave like light waves or any other waves. They are subject tomany issues that can degrade performance of a wireless network. Surveying before deployinga network and periodically helps mitigate these issues.
describes how waves are blocked by walls or dampened by carpet. This is similar to how sound waves are absorbed.
is how waves are reflected by something in the air, like heavy rain.
describes how a wave’s path is altered by passing through something, such as think glass.This is similar to what happens to light waves as they pass through a prism.
describes how waves bounce off of shiny or reflective objects, which can cause more noise aswireless frames arrive out of order, causing a “multipath issue” where signals can become outof phase and cancel each other out.
Line of Sight
can become an issue in wireless WANdeployments as the curvature of the earth itself can become an obstacle, making taller towersnecessary.
is a measurement of how strong a signal is compared to allthe surrounding noise. This can be helpful when diagnosing issues with RF coverage or deciding how to place AP’s.
WPAN, WLAN, WMAN, and WWAN – A WPAN
(Wireless Personal Area network) is