Chapter 4. Networking Without Wires

In this chapter

  • Understanding networks in general

  • Hardware components of a wired network

  • Adding Wi-Fi capability to an existing network versus creating a Wi-Fi network from scratch

  • Equipment you'll need to add Wi-Fi capability to your network, or to create a Wi-Fi network

In Chapter 3, "Hitting the Road with Wi-Fi," I gave you a taste of how easy it is to connect on the road?at coffee shops or hotels?using Wi-Fi. But perhaps you already know how to do this (it's easy enough, particularly with a mobile computer with integrated Wi-Fi, that this wouldn't be surprising). Or, maybe you don't care because, well, because you never travel.

Whatever the reason, that's fine! Wi-Fi is a great tool for more than mobile computing. You can use Wi-Fi at home or in the office to construct a network without the hassle (and expense) of dealing with wires and drilling holes through the walls. Furthermore, using Wi-Fi for your home or small office network gives you the freedom to work wherever you'd like: in the garden, in the kitchen, in bed, or maybe even in a bubble bath (where are waterproof laptops when you need them?).

This chapter provides an overview of what it takes to set up a wireless network in the wondrous world that has no snaking tangles of wire. I'll also point you in the right direction for more in-depth coverage in this book of specific topics related to wireless networking.