RF Engineering for Wireless Networks

Daniel M. Dobkin
Elsevier-Newnes 2004

This book was originally entitled "The Wireless in Wireless LAN" (publishers have control of such things, you know), and that is the focus: what is necessary to get bits from one WLAN radio to another. The book is intended to be a complement to all the tomes that focus on the bit bashing side [in formal terms, the upper layers of the IEEE or OSI stack], by talking about voltages, signals, and propagation. I assume the reader has an engineering or physical sciences background with some understanding of voltages, currents, and signals, but not necessarily any previous experience in radio frequency devices or electromagnetic theory.

A proper treatment of how data gets from one antenna to another requires that one do some electromagnetism; I took a risk and did the book using a rather unconventional approach in which only the potentials are considered, bypassing the electric and magnetic fields that are usually the basis of the theory, in the hopes of finding a simpler way to convey the physics. The exercise certainly clarified many heretofore-obscure relations for me, but you'll have to judge whether it is similarly helpful for you.

The book opens with an introduction to the basics of wireless communications -- multiplexing, modulation, bandwidth, noise, and link budgets -- and a quick summary of IEEE 802.11 and related short-range networking standards. Then we discuss how radios work, and dive into antennas and propagation, these chapters being rather mathematically-intensive, though less so than in conventional treatments of electromagnetism. The book ends with a pair of chapters cover the RF aspects of network setup in doors and out. Appendices are provided on radio regulations in the US and (to a lesser extent) worldwide, RF measurement tools, reflection and matching, and some electromagnetic derivations deferred from the text. Finally, there are jokes in the index, though fewer than in The RF in RFID, the author’s later, funnier tome in a related field.

To go directly to the relevant Amazon page to check the book out (and hopefully buy a copy!) click here. Thanks for your consideration.