Definitions Memo

Before you complete this assignment, read Chapter 19 (Technical Definitions). You must also be familiar with memo formatting from Chapter 15 (Memos).

1) Read the case study (at the end).

2) Write a memo to your instructor (Colin Tangeman), who is not a specialist in your field. Name me in the TO: of the header. However, the language of the memo will be written to the individual described in your case study; for example, the grandmother, the owner of the construction company, the technical writer, etc.

3) In the body of your memo, you will define your list of terms in the form of sentence definitions. Sentence definitions are written as complete grammatical structures??”full sentences??”and they include three parts: item, class, and distinguishing features.

When writing your definitions, DO NOT use the Internet, textbooks, dictionaries, or any outside resource of any sort. Use your own words from your own brain. If you use a definition that is not entirely of your own creation as part of this assignment, you will receive a grade of zero. If for some reason you do decide you need to bring in a small amount of information that is not stored entirely in your own brain, you must document that information according to appropriate APA citation style. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. You don’t want that to happen, so ask me if you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism. It’s safer just to use your own words.

Remember, the memo has specific parts: intro, body (the definitions) and brief conclusion. The overall organizational scheme is up to you, but you will be graded in part on how well you organize your memo; its page design, and how effectively you format the document. What headers will you use to help structure the memo?

Before you send me your memo, make sure your definitions meet the standards for usability.

• Use appropriate memo formatting.
• Display a logical organization and attractive page design.
• Offer clear definitions of all appropriate words.
• Provide definitions that adequately classify items and clarify meaning.
• Offer definitions in plain English, using language appropriate for the audience.
• Display proper grammar and mechanics.
• Present material with concision, clarity, and fluency.


You have contracted with a local construction management firm to upgrade their offices to a high-speed LAN. You need to convey the following information to help your client decide between a wireless or wired LAN.

Wireless LANs and wired LANs operate in much the same way at the physical level. That is, they both use electrical energy to transmit data. One encodes its data upon an electrical impulse in a wire, and the other encodes it upon a radio or light wave. With a waveform, the amount of data which can be transmitted is theoretically, directly proportional to the frequency of the wave. For example, if a particular piece of switching equipment in a transmitter is capable of encoding (modulating) one bit of data per cycle, then a wavelength with a frequency of 10 kHz (ten thousand cycles per second) is going to carry ten times as much data as a wavelength having a frequency of 1 kHz in the same period of time. This holds true for as long as the switching equipment can match the frequency. Some modulating methods make it possible to encode up to 4 bits on a single cycle. Considering this and the high frequencies available, wireless LANs have the potential to transmit data at very high speeds. The characteristics of a wave change with respect to the rate of frequency change. The higher the frequency, the more the wave takes on the properties of light and the more it is absorbed or reflected. This has a number of implications; the main one being the fact that as the frequency increases the range of the LAN decreases due to the greater attenuation of the signal. Also, the equipment used to transmit and receive radio waves begins to strike some physical limitations as the frequency increases, so there is an upper limit to its practical application. There is a wide frequency range which could potentially be used for wireless LAN communication. The range from about 200 kHz, through the microwave range, all the way up to the top of the infrared range at around 200 THz could be utilized.

Which terms and concepts will need to be defined for your client? List and define them in your memo. When writing your definitions, DO NOT use the Internet, textbooks, dictionaries, or any outside resource of any sort. Use your own words.