What Is Autonomous Mode for Wireless?

by Richard Asmus

As years have passed, the meaning of the word "wireless" has changed significantly. What was first called a "wireless" now is called a "radio." In the modern world, the term generally describes several technical applications. Autonomous or asynchronous wireless means that a device operates independently, without specific controls or synchronization signals from other devices. The opposite of autonomous is synchronous.

Wireless

The term "wireless" technically describes a device that communicates with another without wires, usually by radio waves, but sometimes by infrared light waves. A microwave radio that transports large volumes of information between two locations provides a wireless solution, as does the remote control of a TV. A satellite dish receives television programs without cable, making it also a wireless solution. Some applications confuse the issue. A cellphone isn't called a "wireless telephone," but it may be able to make a wireless connection to the Internet. A telephone in your home that operates without wires is often called "cordless."

Synchronous

Many types of analog and digital electronic telecommunications systems need a synchronization signal to coordinate timing information to ensure all devices start at square one. Without a synchronization signal, a TV set would not know when to start scanning the screen. A device receiving a stream of billions of bits of information every second over an industrial microwave radio system would not know which bit to identify as the first in a particular second. Devices operate in a synchronous mode when accurate timing functions make a critical difference in quality.

Autonomous

When sending a wireless signal in autonomous mode, the receiver has the ability to read the signal and decide from its content when to start any timing procedure, without the presence of a synchronization signal. The objective, according to an advanced course description in autonomous wireless system development at Telecom Sudparis, is to allow "the dynamic and spontaneous creation of new applications and services, based on a transparent creation of the support networks, their connectivity and their integration to networks infrastructures... permitting multi-technological mobility between the interconnected domains." In short, it makes stuff easier to hook together.

Interconnectivity

Thanks to autonomous wireless technology, you have a vast amount of inter-connectivity. You can plug a wireless router into a telephone line just about anywhere in the world to connect a laptop to the Internet. You can instantly send a text message or a photograph from a cellphone to an email account of a friend. You can mount a cellphone on the dashboard of your car, and it will direct you to a newly opened seafood restaurant using constantly updated map information from the Internet. Developers constantly strive to distribute more information over wider areas using autonomous wireless mode.

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About the Author

Richard Asmus was a writer and producer of television commercials in Phoenix, Arizona, and now is retired in Peru. After founding a small telecommunications engineering corporation and visiting 37 countries, Asmus studied broadcasting at Arizona State University and earned his Master of Fine Arts at Brooklyn College in New York.

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