New low-cost RFICs have sparked interest in entirely new applications for embedded systems using wireless technology. Many of these applications require significant network functionality, and developing this functionality is a major undertaking. Fortunately, multiple vendors offer field-tested networking libraries paired with a single-chip radio, and engineers can build upon these libraries as they develop their applications.

Wireless communications have different characteristics from wired communications. Many of the tools needed to work successfully with wireless communications are built into the network libraries offered today. Understanding the characteristics like propagation, relay latency, and bandwidth utilization is key in the evaluation of stacks and the design of good wireless applications.