Wireless Networks; September 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Zysman; 4 Page(s)
Near the end of the 19th century a young man named Guglielmo Marconi connected a spark emitter to a short antenna and sent a burst of radio waves through the air to a simple receiver. It responded by ringing a bell, signaling the birth of a technology that promised to allow people to communicate across distances while in motion. In the closing decades of the 20th century, several waves of innovation have made wireless communications the fastest-growing segment of the global telecommunications industry.
Wireless networks are proliferating rapidly, going digital and harnessing "intelligent network" technology to locate and identify roaming subscribers and to customize the services they receive. An intelligent network consists of a distributed signaling network of switches, databases and dedicated computer servers that is separate from, yet intimately connected to, the transport networks on which subscribers' voice calls and data actually flow. This architectural framework, which has been re- fined over the past 30 years to support such services as 800-number calling, caller identification and "911," will soon make personalized communications services as portable as a pocket telephone.