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Wireless Networking

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Wireless Networking

1. What is wireless networking?

The term wireless networking refers to technology that enables two or more computers to communicate using standard network protocols, but without network cabling. Strictly speaking, any technology that does this could be called wireless networking. The current buzzword however generally refers to wireless LANs. This technology, fuelled by the emergence of cross-vendor industry standards such as IEEE 802.11, has produced a number of affordable wireless solutions that are growing in popularity with business and schools as well as sophisticated applications where network wiring is impossible, such as in warehousing or point-of-sale handheld equipment.

2. What is a wireless network made up of?

There are two kinds of wireless networks:

a. An ad-hoc, or peer-to-peer wireless network consists of a number of computers each equipped with a wireless networking interface card. Each computer can communicate directly with all of the other wireless enabled computers. They can share files and printers this way, but may not be able to access wired LAN resources, unless one of the computers acts as a bridge to the wired LAN using special software. (This is called "bridging")

Figure 1: Ad-Hoc or Peer-to Peer Networking.

Each computer with a wireless interface can communicate directly with all of the others.

b. A wireless network can also use an access point, or base station. In this type of network the access point acts like a hub, providing connectivity for the wireless computers. It can connect (or "bridge") the wireless LAN to a wired LAN, allowing wireless computer access to LAN resources, such as file servers or existing Internet Connectivity.


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