Issue No. 05 - May (2004 vol. 5)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MDSO.2004.1
Benny Bing , Georgia Institute of Technology
By P. Nicopolitidis, M.S. Obaidat, G. I. Papadimitriou, A. S. Pomportsis
John Wiley & Sons
The wireless subject is an intense research area owing to the medium's inherent difficulties and the increasing demand for better and cheaper services. Two of the most notable commercial successes resulting from this research in the last decade are cellular and 802.11 (Wi-Fi) systems. Wireless Networks provides an in-depth discussion of these technologies and also briefly looks at other emerging technologies such as wireless ad hoc networks and wireless local loops.
The authors first explore important concepts related to wireless-system deployment to equip the reader with the necessary background information. They cover signal propagation, voice coding, modulation techniques, multiple access protocols, cellular networks, ad-hoc wireless networks, and use of limited wireless spectrum. They also discuss several important wireless standards spanning different coverage areas: personal area networks such as Bluetooth and 802.15; local area networks, including 802.11 and HiperLAN; and wide area wireless networks such as cellular, 802.16, and satellite.
In Chapter 6, the authors provide a vision of future 4G wireless systems, arguing that such systems will rely heavily on the IP platform. This discussion should be of value to researchers, but unfortunately it fails to mention other emerging wireless technologies such as ultra-wideband, multiple input multiple output antenna systems, and software radio systems.
Designers of broadband wireless access should appreciate the table listing FCC-approved frequency bands for fixed wireless access (Chapter 8). Having a consolidated table of approved frequency bands is very useful.
Less useful is Chapter 10, which combines wireless ATM and wireless ad hoc networking. The authors should have focused on wireless ad hoc networking, instead including wireless ATM as part of the HiperLAN standards discussion (Chapter 9).
Also, the authors should have expanded their discussion of security issues (Chapter 12) to include solutions for improving wireless security. This has become an important topic in recent years, given that secure wireless transmission is physically difficult. The authors should have fully explored security standards involving 802.1x, the Extensible Authentication Protocol, the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, and the Advanced Encryption Standard.
Most useful for graduate students is Chapter 13, which covers the basics of simulating wireless systems, including model creation and random number generation. It also provides a couple of OPNET case studies involving the 802.11 standard and the wireless MANET routing protocol.
The final chapter (Chapter 14) focuses on the economics of wireless networks, including the role of governments, infrastructure deployment, enabling applications such as voice telephony, and billing issues. It discusses the technological aspects of wireless networks in a business context and should interest any business investor.
Overall, the book covers a broad spectrum of both traditional and contemporary wireless technologies and should appeal to a wide range of readers interested the subject. It might not be an ideal textbook, because it doesn't include problem sets or exercises, but it could easily complement other more analytical texts on wireless networks. Additionally, there's no complex mathematical treatment, so it's easy to grasp important concepts. Also, rather than just stating the facts, the authors explain things and attempt to integrate the disparate wireless technologies. Because wireless standards and technologies are evolving quickly, the book does lack a more forward-looking discussion on wireless networks. However, it's generally well written and well organized and should be a useful reference for any wireless practitioner or researcher.
Benny Bing is a research faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.