Jidaw Systems

Wireless Networks Fundamentals

The fundamental relationship between operating frequency, communication range and data throughput determines the performance and capabilities of wireless networks.

 Wireless Networks are proliferating

throughout the African market and is fast becoming the technology of choice for Service Providers to ensure rapid deployment.

Many business and technical criteria needs to be considered when selecting the most suited product, but one criterion is always key to all - network coverage.

Network Coverage is the geographical area that is serviced, or covered, by the radio network and is defined in terms of range or distance.

Given the investment required to deploy wireless network infrastructures it is a fundamental requirement, that maximum communication range or coverage, is achieved by each base station deployed.

The technologies of Wireless networks are not always simply understood and product information does not always help us to find clarity and perspective. What is needed however is to identify some basic fundamentals, which regulate all wireless network products and to use these fundamentals as a reference for considering various


The basic technical criteria for deployment of a wireless network is:

Network Coverage:

Network coverage is determined by the radio wave propagation which in turn is determined by the network operational frequency, i.e. 2.4GHz, 3.5GHz, etc.


Network bandwidth, or data throughput rate, refers to the maximum data rate that can be provided over the wireless network to offer services such as telephony and Internet access.

Although there is a tremendous difference between various Wireless network products because different manufacturers has approached these basics from different perspectives - the fundamental limitations and characteristics cannot be changed.

Fundamental Interrelationships

exists between operating frequencies, communication bandwidth and communication range that cannot be changed and also forms the ground rules of science:

Relationship #1:

The higher the operating frequency the shorter the communications range.

This can clearly be demonstrated by considering extreme situations. For example, FM radio services that operate on 94.7MHz provide communication over 100km distances

whereas Fixed Wireless Access networks that operate on 3.5GHz can provide services only up to 20km and then there must be no visible obstructions.

Relationship #2:

The higher the operating frequency, the higher the network bandwidth or data rate.

For example, FM radio stations operate on relatively low frequencies (94.7MHz) and provide services for 1 broadcast communication channel only, normally this is not more than 10kbps, whereas Fixed Wireless Networks that operate on 3.5GHz can be used for broadband services with data rates of up to 4Mbps

In conclusion…

Given that communication range decrease and network throughput increase with an increase in radio wave frequency, it is therefore not possible to design long-distance broadband networks as there are basic fundamental conflicts in these requirements.


by Dawie de Wet

MD / CEO, Q-KON, South Africa

Q-KON is a South African based turn-key solutions provider who specializes in the supply of VSAT, Wireless connectivity and Training solutions for ISP's, Internet Cafe's, Corporate Networks & Telco Providers in the emerging African market.

Africa's Leading Telecoms Trainers




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