Three Network Groups Form the Wireless Internet
The wireless Internet is dramatically defined by three kinds of wireless networks, differing in power, regulation, services, and data rates. The three major network groups are, in descending order of power output, the Wide Area Network (WAN) for long-range public access, the wireless Local Area Network (LAN) for building-wide private access, and the Personal Area Network (PAN) for room-wide personal access. To be fair, I should also mention Satellite Area Networks (SAN). In two-way communications they're still too expensive and proprietary for general public use.
WAN, LAN, and PAN form a bubble of usable energy patterns around a traveler as shown in Figure 1. A differing range of wireless towerscellular towers, base stations, and access points, serves each wireless network. These antennaed transceivers communicate with all manner of wireless devices, exchange data or voice with them, and then transmit that information, connecting through relays and cables, eventually back to the wires of the Internet. New wireless devices are being made to connect with all three of these networks, giving people access to wide, local, and personal services using the global Internet.
Figure 1 The three wireless network groups.