With wireless access to a network, mobile users no longer have to place their mobile computers in a cradle for communications. Access points, which support radio communications, allow users to send and receive scanned information via their mobile computer. And multiple users can communicate simultaneously through access points at distances of 100 feet or greater. This means no lines waiting to send or receive data, increasing labor efficiency. With data speeds of up to 54 megabits per second, this is a technology that is being rapidly introduced into record centers today.
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area is called a WAN and typically consists of two or more LANS. The term distinguishes a broader telecommunications structure from that of a LAN.
Computers on a WAN are often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites. The largest WAN in existence is the Internet.
General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
GPRS is a packet-switched technology that enables data communications from anywhere, not just via a "Wi-Fi" hotspot. It is used for various data applications on phones (such as over AT&T networks), including wireless Internet. Basically any network connection that is not voice or text messaging uses a data connection like GPRS. Using packet switching, users are always connected and online, so services are easy and quick to access, even from remote areas.
GPRS runs at speeds up to 2 megabits per second, on a 3G network. It supports a wide range of bandwidths, and is particularly suited for sending and receiving small bursts of data, such as e-mail and Web browsing, as well as large volumes of data.
Wireless handhelds equipped with this technology and the appropriate software enable instant communications with record-center staff working in remote areas. As a result, many activities can be accomplished directly from users’ handhelds to a facility with no network communications. This could include downloading and uploading pick lists and work orders; creating route operation assignments; and uploading truck, work order and delivery validations.