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Chapter 3. How Wireless Works > Passing Signals Through Walls

Passing Signals Through Walls

The magical part of wireless networking is how it works not just without cables, but also when you can't even see the access point to which you're connecting. Although we take this obstructed path for granted now, it wasn't always true.

Early wireless networks used lower frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, just below the visible spectrum, namely infrared. Infrared networking had (and still has) a huge limitation: you needed perfect line of sight from one infrared transceiver to another. In large offices with numerous cubicles, it was difficult to position the transceivers high enough for the signal to get over partitions and equally hard to ensure that people standing around gabbing weren't blocking the network signal.


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