If you are new to Wi-Fi?wireless networking?I'd like to be your guide to this wonderful technology. I am no industry flak or starry-eyed gadget freak (although I do appreciate technology that makes life easier for people, like Wi-Fi).

I want to be your guide to Wi-Fi, so it is fair for you to ask (and me to answer) some questions:

  • What are my qualifications?

  • What is my approach?

  • Who is this book for, and why an "Absolute Beginner's Guide?"

I'd like to start with my qualifications. I take qualifications in this context to be a pretty broad issue, meaning (in part) who am I?

I am a normal human being, whatever that means, who is interested in technology (among other things). I have a wife, two kids, another one on the way, and a house with a mortgage. Besides my interest in technology, I like to read, write, garden, take photographs, and hike.

I've been involved in technology as a professional for more than 20 years. (Because technology years actually compare with dog years, that probably is the equivalent of hundreds of experiential years!) I've seen technologies come on strong, grow up, mature, and burst like a star that has gone nova too soon. I like to think I know what is important, and what is not, and what technologies matter.

I've been involved with Wi-Fi since its infancy, and have lectured about Wi-Fi and taught people how to construct Wi-Fi networks. I maintain a Wi-Fi network in my home for the convenience of myself and my family. I've been a road warrior and a stay-at-home. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people and helping them get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Well, enough about me! Perhaps you are completely new to Wi-Fi and want to quickly get up to speed so you can surf at local hotspots, or while you're on the road. This book will give you the practical information you need to buy the right equipment, get your equipment working perfectly, find Wi-Fi hotspots, and get the best deal with Wi-Fi providers.

Perhaps you already use Wi-Fi in your local coffee shop, at the airport, or in hotel lobbies, and you want to set up a small office or home network. You already know how great Wi-Fi is, so you want to enjoy the benefits where you live and work. It is truly transformational to one's lifestyle to decouple computing from the wires!

If you are looking to set up a Wi-Fi network, you've come to the right place. I'll show you the best way to buy the equipment you need at the best prices, and how to set it up easily. I won't gloss over potential pitfalls, and I will save you time and money. I'll also show you some of the considerations you might want to think about if you are building a more complex network involving Wi-Fi.

Many people are looking to find out how to use Wi-Fi on the road, or in networks at home. An Absolute Beginner's Guide provides the perfect format for easily learning what you need to know to get up to speed with Wi-Fi, without wasting a lot of time. The organization of the book, and the special elements that I've described in the section "Conventions Used in This Book," will help you get the information you need quickly, accurately, and with clarity.

In this book you'll find inspiration as well as practical information. I believe that Wi-Fi is a modest technology that has the power to have a huge and positive impact. Some of the items I've included in this book speak to that transformational power. For example, you'll learn how villages in southeast Asia use Wi-Fi on the fly to connect to the world, and how Wi-Fi was used to bring wireless networking to Pitcairn Island, a romantic flyspeck in the South Pacific Ocean (remember Mutiny on the Bounty?). You'll also learn about war chalking, and find out how to locate free Wi-Fi hotspots.

This is wonderful material, and it's lots of fun! So what are you waiting for? It's time to Wi-Fi!