Chapter 13. Buying a Wi-Fi Access Point or Router

In this chapter

  • Understanding network hardware

  • Wireless networking kits

  • Choosing a Wi-Fi access point

  • The AirPort Extreme Base Station

  • The Linksys Wireless Broadband Router

Perhaps you've tried Wi-Fi on the road and have seen how great it is! It's also okay if you haven't! In any case, you are ready to "unwire" your home or small office by adding a Wi-Fi network.

You'll find that it's very easy to create a Wi-Fi network from scratch (or to add Wi-Fi to an existing Ethernet network).

This chapter gets you started building your own Wi-Fi network. There are quite a number of different pieces of hardware (or hardware combinations) you can use to do this, which can seem a bit overwhelming. But, fear not! It's all a lot simpler than it may seem.

I'll start out by clearly delineating the different kinds of hardware that you might use in creating a home or small office Wi-Fi network. There's no need for any confusion about this. Then I'll take a look at all-in-one Wi-Fi networking kits.

Finally, I'll get down to it: What access point should you buy? I'll also take a closer look at two of the most popular pieces of hardware used for this purpose: Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Station and Linksys's Wireless Broadband Router.