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Networking Terms

There is a wide variety of terms used to explain computer networking. The terms listed
are a compilation of some of the more common terms used to describe networking. Many
terms may not be mentioned here. Please contact us, and we will define a computer
networking term you are interested in knowing more about if it is not listed here.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) - Dynamic Host Configuration
Protocol (DHCP) is a communications protocol that lets network administrators manage
and automate the assignment of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in an organization's
network. DHCP allows devices to connect to a network and be automatically assigned an
IP address.
DNS (Domain Name System) - The Domain Name System is the system that translates
Internet domain names into IP numbers.
Ethernet - One of the most common local area network (LAN) wiring schemes, Ethernet
has a transmission rate of 10 megabits per second; a newer standard called Fast Ethernet
will carry 100 megabits per second.
Internet - An electronic communications network that connects computer networks and
organizational computer facilities around the world.
IP address - Each machine connected to the Internet has an unique address known as an
Internet Protocol address (IP address). The IP address takes the form of four numbers
separated by dots, for example:
LAN (Local Area Network) - LAN is a collection of computers linked together by an
enclosed network.
Modem - A device that converts the digital signal from a computer to an analog signal
that can be transmitted along an ordinary phone line. This allows computers to connect to
the Internet through a telephone line.
NAT (Network Address Translation) - An Internet standard that enables a local-area
network (LAN) to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic (usually private
addresses) and a second set of public addresses for external traffic. A NAT
box/router/firewall is located where the LAN meets the Internet makes all necessary IP
address translations.
Netbios - Short for Network Basic Input Output System, it is a software developed by
IBM that provides the interface between the PC operating system, the input/output bus,
and the network.

Router - Network layer device that determines the optimal path along which network
traffic should be forwarded. Routers forward packets from one network to another based
on network layer information.
Server - A computer that delivers information and software to other computers linked by
a network.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) - A protocol for
communication between computers, used as a standard for transmitting data over
networks and as the basis for standard Internet protocols.
WAN (Wide Area Network) - It is a network, usually constructed with serial lines,
which covers a large geographic.

Computer hardware
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
It has been suggested that Peripheral and Peripheral device be merged into this
article or section. (Discuss)
Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as
distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. The
hardware of a computer is infrequently changed, in comparison with software and
hardware data, which are "soft" in the sense that they are readily created, modified or
erased on the computer. Firmware is a special type of software that rarely, if ever, needs
to be changed and so is stored on hardware devices such as read-only memory (ROM)
where it is not readily changed (and is, therefore, "firm" rather than just "soft").
Most computer hardware is not seen by normal users. It is in embedded systems in
automobiles, microwave ovens, electrocardiograph machines, compact disc players, and
other devices. Personal computers, the computer hardware familiar to most people, form
only a small minority of computers (about 0.2% of all new computers produced in 2003).
See Market statistics.


1 Typical PC hardware
o 1.1 Motherboard
o 1.2 Power supply
o 1.3 Storage controllers
o 1.4 Video display controller

6 Internal storage 1.5 Removable media devices 1.8 Networking 1. 1.jpg Typical Motherboard found in a computer Inside a Custom Computer [edit] Motherboard Main article: Motherboard .9.2 Output 2 See also  3 Internet o o o o o [edit] Typical PC hardware A typical personal computer consists of a case or chassis in a tower shape (desktop) and the following parts: Internals of typical personal computer Image:ASRock K7VT4A Pro Mainboard-eng-labels.7 Sound card 1.9 Other peripherals  1.9.1 Input  1.

such as printers and input devices. and (usually) a cooling fan. o PCI o PCI-E o USB o HyperTransport o CSI (expected in 2008) o AGP (being phased out) o VLB (outdated) External Bus Controllers .Fast-access memory that is cleared when the computer is powered-down. o parallel port (outdated) o serial port (outdated) o USB o firewire o SCSI (On Servers and older machines) o PS/2 (For mice and keyboards. o Computer fan . These ports may also be based upon expansion cards. voltage control. a fan is almost always attached to the CPU. being phased out and replaced by USB. attached to the internal buses.The motherboard is the "heart" of the computer.used to connect to external peripherals. and the computer case will generally have several fans to maintain a constant airflow. Random Access Memory (RAM) . through which all other components interface. Liquid cooling can also be used to cool a computer.Used to lower the temperature of the computer. and is used to store programs that are currently running. RAM attaches directly to the motherboard. the most common types of power supplies are AT and BabyAT (old) but the standard for PC's actually are ATX and micro ATX [edit] Storage controllers . and supplies power to run the rest of the computer. though it focuses more on individual parts rather than the overall temperature inside the chassis.      Central processing unit (CPU) .) o ISA (outdated) o EISA (outdated) o MCA (outdated) [edit] Power supply Main article: Computer power supply A case that holds a transformer.Connections to various internal components.Performs most of the calculations which enable a computer to function. sometimes referred to as the "brain" of the computer. Firmware is loaded from the Read only memory ROM run from the Basic InputOutput System (BIOS) or in newer systems Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) compliant Internal Buses .

HD DVD . o DVD-RAM Drive . CD-ROM and other drives like internal Zip and Jaz conventionally for a PC are IDE/ATA. The floppy drive interface is a legacy MFM interface which is now slowly disappearing. typically small.a device used for both reading and writing data to and from a CD. o BD-ROM Drive .a device that reads and writes data on a magnetic tape.Controllers for hard disk. o DVD Writer .a high-density optical disc format for the storage of digital information. PCI-E 2. o CD-ROM Drive . including high-definition video.a device used for both reading and writing data to and from a Blu-ray outdated storage device consisting of a thin disk of a flexible magnetic storage medium.a high-density optical disc format and successor to the standard DVD.a device used for reading data from a DVD.a device used for reading data from a CD. such as a Disk array controller. Tape drive . removable and rewritable. in the form of a Graphics Card. Blu-ray .a device used for rapid writing and reading of data from a special type of DVD. o CD Writer . . o DVD-ROM Drive . It was a discontinued competitor to the Blu-ray format.a flash memory data storage device integrated with a USB interface. the controllers sit directly on the motherboard (onboard) or on expansion cards. or AGP).a popular type of removable media that is the same dimensions as a CD but stores up to 6 times as much information. All these interfaces are gradually being phased out to be replaced by SATA and SAS. USB flash drive . usually used for long term storage. first introduced by Iomega in 1994. DVD .a device used for both reading and writing data to and from a DVD. IDE is usually integrated. Floppy disk . PCI-E. inexpensive but has a short lifespan. o BD Writer .an outdated medium-capacity removable disk storage system. [edit] Removable media devices         Main article: Computer storage CD .the most common type of removable media. lightweight. This will either be built into the motherboard or attached in its own separate slot (PCI. [edit] Video display controller Main article: Graphics card Produces the output for the visual display unit. It is the most common way of transferring digital video.0. Zip drive .a device used for reading data from a Blu-ray disc. unlike SCSI which is found in most servers.

for dial-up connections Network card .a device to manage several hard disks. to achieve performance or reliability improvement. [edit] Other peripherals Main article: Peripheral In addition. The following are either standard or very common. Disk array controller . though it is common for a user to install a separate sound card as an upgrade.[edit] Internal storage Hardware that keeps data inside the computer for later use and remains persistent even when the computer has no power. [edit] Networking Main article: Computer networks Connects the computer to the Internet and/or other computers. Wheel mouse Includes various input and output devices. [edit] Sound card Main article: Sound card Enables the computer to output sound to audio devices. Solid-state drive .a device emulating a hard disk. Most modern computers have sound cards built-in to the motherboard.    Hard disk . but containing no moving parts. connecting two computers together using their serial ports or a Laplink Cable. hardware devices can include external components of a computer system. as well as accept input from a microphone. usually external to the computer system .    Modem . connecting two computers together with their parallel ports. and/or connecting to other computers.for medium-term storage of data.for DSL/Cable internet.Use of a null modem. Direct Cable Connection .

a pointing device that detects two dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface.a device that provides input by analyzing images.a general control device that consists of a handheld stick that pivots around one end. Video input devices o Image scanner . Audio input devices o Microphone . Audio output devices o Speakers .a general game controller held in the hand that relies on the digits (especially thumbs) to provide input. o Headset . to provide the user with information and an interface with which to interact. handwriting. . o Webcam . or an acoustic sensor that provides input by converting sound into an electrical signals [edit] Output   Main article: Output Image.a peripheral device that produces a hard (usually paper) copy of a document.[edit] Input      Main article: Input Text input devices o Keyboard . to detect angles in two or three dimensions. o Trackball .a low resolution video camera used to provide visual input that can be easily transferred over the internet. similar to a television.a device. Which with the use of the application Switchblade(tm). printed text. Can be used as an additional pointing device with the left or right thumbstick. similar to a typewriter.device that displays a video signal.a specific type of controller specialized for certain gaming purposes. o Gamepad . o Game controller .a device that converts analog audio signals into the equivalent air vibrations in order to make audible sound. o Monitor . The most common Englishlanguage key layout is the QWERTY layout.A controller used for XBOX 360. Video output devices o Printer .a pointing device consisting of an exposed portruding ball housed in a socket that detects rotation about two axes. Gaming devices o Joystick . Pointing devices o Mouse .a device similar in functionality to computer speakers used mainly to not disturb others nearby. o Xbox 360 Controller . to input text and characters by depressing buttons (referred to as keys). Image.

llc (TSS) was founded in 1995 with a core principal in mind.IT consultants should help customers solve their problems. .[edit] See als Technology Support Services.

com GSM Software InfoBuy Training & Information Products Find White Papers & Research Paperswww. and networking was not a word in my vocabulary. white papers. 2008 | permalink | comments (1) More from your Guide below Sponsored Links Wireless Networking BooksTry before you buy . whose school has about 60 computers and no network administrator to keep them connected to the Internet and running well. upgraded operating systems and improved the server backup More from your Guide What Is a Network Protocol? | Definition | Hundreds of different network protocosl exist for computer networks. Looks like network certification may be in his future. From Bradley Mitchell. We are real techs. and come up with solutions that will fix your problems. and more.50 free videos CWNA Wireless networking & securityCBTNuggets. my school had no computers. Contrast that with the story of Jon Penn. Jon has completed evaluation of several network gateway security appliances. In his first months on the Linksys FirewallGet the latest news.We take a different approach. A network protocol defines rules and conventions for network communication between computing devices. too. You'll be surprised to our attention to detail.ITBusinessEdge.Security.then give us a call. We listen to what your problems are. efficiency of our installations and value to your budget. Jon! Sunday March 30. . Your Guide to Wireless / Networking. FREE Newsletter. thoughtfulness of design.ITtoolbox. tutorials. FAQs. Please take a look at our services and solutions pages. all generally sending and receiving messages in the form of packets. Nice work. with a real passion for technology. follow your budget and make your job easier! We aren't hardware or software pushers. Sign Up Now! An 11 Year Old Network Administrator's Story | Commentary | [via Slashdot] When I was 11 years old.

S. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) About Wi-Fi 2. To save power and perhaps improve your network's security.Can TV Channels Be Used for High Speed Internet Service? Monday March 24. The promise of Wi-Fi 2. relatively few free books exist that cover general computer networking topics. Specifically. you should consider turning off the Wi-Fi radios on both the router and all computers when not using wireless. Saturday March 22. remain highly uncertain.0 is clear .0 is a concept for implementing wireless broadband networks using very different radio frequencies than those used by Wi-Fi today. Wi-Fi 2. But . → See also . However. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) Can Wi-Fi Be Turned Off for Computers and Routers? | FAQ | Say your network features a wireless broadband router.The most widely used network protocols are the set of Internet protocols including some specifically designed for high performance speeds on the order of Gbps instead of Mbps. These titles are recommended for their high quality and usefulness: Free Computer Networking Books can Wi-Fi be turned off? → See also .4 Mbps but newer Revisions to the standard support 3.0 would utilize bandwidth within the range of traditional broadcast television stations and some other consumer devices. reaching to everyone in urban and rural areas alike. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) Free Computer Networking Books Online | Reference | Numerous published books are available for free download on the Internet. but your computers are all connected to it via Ethernet. EV-DO only supported a theoretical maximum of 2. theoretical protocol speeds . however.0 has been in the news again this week as Google recently updated its TV white spaces pitch to the U. Of course.When Should You Power Down Your Network? Wednesday March 26. Wi-Fi 2.What Is Packet Switching? Friday March 28. Its prospects for becoming a reality. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) How Fast Is EV-DO? | Commentary | The EV-DO wireless network protocol is used by some cellular phones to provide Internet access. Originally.0 and "TV White Spaces" | Commentary | Wi-Fi 2. government. → See also .1 Mbps with much higher speeds coming in the near future. The "speed" you can expect from an EV-DO connection depends on which version of the protocol is implemented.

uTorrent → Kazaa: Kazaa Downloads . Peer Guardian. free BitTorrent downloads.What Is EV-DO? → See also . Windows Live Messenger. Overnet / eDonkey. Yahoo Messenger. Warez P2P.Kazzaa → Other P2P: Ares.Kazaalite Fakes . Bit Comet. BearShare. Ares Galaxy. you may expect an iPhone to enjoy data rates of over 500 Kbps when accessing the Internet over Wi-Fi but less than 200 Kbps are very possible when relying on Edge → See also . WinMX Free Download .Kazaa Lite Resurrection . Shareaza. best Bit Torrent client. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) About iNetworkTest for iPhone | Commentary | The iNetworkTest is a Web service designed to test the speed of Apple iPhone Internet connections. Dead AIM. eMule.About Internet Speed Tests Apple iPhone . Bit Tornado.are never quite achieved in practice. You can also view statistics on the average connection speeds being achieved by those who use the service. iMesh.Andreas Rentz / Getty Images Tuesday March 18.Kazaa Lite Revolution . Pointing an iPhone to the iNetworkTest home page will allow you to start a (brief) bandwidth measurement test cycle over whichever type of network is currently connected (either Wi-Fi or cellular Edge).About Cellular Internet Access Thursday March 20. Morpheus. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) Most Popular Networking Downloads | Reference | Looking for information on downloads for popular network software? Use this list to find what you need: → Instant Messenging: AOL / AIM Express Downloads. MSN Instant Messenger.Kazaa Lite / Light . According to the iNetworkTest databaase.iphonenetworktest. Azureus. SoulSeek. Ares Lite. More . More . LimeWire. Bit Torrent files. and Gaim downloads → BitTorrent: Bit Torrents.

White Papers Wireless Networking Q&A Increased use of laptop computers within the enterprise. wireless technology has come of age. 2008 | permalink | comments (3) How To Fix "Limited Or No Connectivity" Errors in Windows | Reference | When trying to establish network connections on a Windows computer. and increase in worker mobility have fuelled the demand for wireless networks. Internet Explorer 6 downloads. Up until recently. Follow these steps to Fix "Limited Or No Connectivity" Errors in Windows.Discuss | Message Board | Member JD writes "I am trying to find some freeware/open source software for monitoring network traffic. The technology was slow.How To Connect To a Broadband Router As an Administrator Sunday March 16. This message can result from any of several different configuration problems and technical glitches. We are presenting this KnowledgeShare in a Q&A (Questions and Answers) format that we hope will be useful. free Sony PSP downloads Tuesday March 18. Add them here: Free Network Monitoring Software . . Skype.Discuss → See also ." We've had a few good suggestions posted. Internet Explorer 7 downloads. With the maturing of industry standards and the deployment of lightweight wireless networking hardware across a broad market section. We welcome feedback and comments from any readers on the usefulness or content. → See also .→.What Is Network Monitoring Software? KnowledgeShare . We are dealing with the subject on a general basis and so the information offered here should apply to most wireless networking devices. expensive and reserved for mobile situations or hostile environments where cabling was impractical or impossible. I'm particullarly looking for something with a visual interface if possible and something that will show the HTTP requests/responses and data. Also what ports are being used and what the data content is. wireless technology was a patchwork of incompatible systems from a variety of vendors. Others: Cisco VPN Client. Do you have any others to share. 2008 | permalink | comments (0) Free Network Monitoring Software . you may encounter a Limited Or No Connectivity error message.

Click here to download free trial software. however created.Wireless Networking 1. Can I mix wireless equipment from different vendors? 5.] This KnowledgeShare document addresses the main types of wireless networking today based on the IEEE 802. What is Roaming? 10. How can I use a wireless network to share an Internet connection? . the first section is on general wireless networking. What is Vicomsoft's Interest in Wireless Networking? Vicomsoft does not sell wireless (or wired) networking interface hardware (NICs). What about security? Section Two . What is a wireless network made up of? 3. Can I have more than one access point? 9. Is it true that wireless networking is only good for laptop computers? 12.We are providing the best information available to us as of date of writing and intend to update it at frequent intervals as things change and/or more information becomes available. Questions Section One . Those wishing to study the subject in more detail should refer to the useful links listed at the end of this document.11 standard. can it communicate with computers on a wired LAN as well? 6. In the course of its business Vicomsoft has acquired considerable knowledge in the area of wireless networking and wishes to share it. Questions are split into two sections. What is the range of a wireless network? 7. For more on this and other subjects covered in these White Papers. Accordingly we are neutral on which NICs are used and whether wired or wireless technologies are used. However we intend this KnowledgeShare as a guide only and recommend that users obtain specific information to determine applicability to their specific requirements. to the Internet. What is wireless networking? 2. sign up to our free Newsletter today. What is IEEE 802. How many wireless networked computers can use a single access point? 8. [Two Second Commercial Break: Vicomsoft software products are used for the interconnection of wireless and wired local area networks (LANs) and also the connection of LANs. How can I use a wireless network to interconnect two LANs? 11. If my computer is connected to a wireless LAN.Wireless Networking and the Internet 13.11? 4. and the second aimed at users wishing to use wireless technology to provide access to the Internet. (This is another way of saying that we can't be held liable or responsible for the content).

What is a wireless network made up of? There are two kinds of wireless networks: a. This technology. Each computer with a wireless interface can communicate directly with all of the others.14. any technology that does this could be called wireless networking. If I use a wireless network to connect to the Internet does my ISP need a wireless network too? 16. The current buzzword however generally refers to wireless LANs. 2. Can networking software identify a wireless computer in the same way it can identify an ethernet computer on the network? References Download this article as a . 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. What is wireless networking? The term wireless networking refers to technology that enables two or more computers to communicate using standard network protocols. Each computer can communicate directly with all of the other wireless enabled computers. or peer-to-peer wireless network consists of a number of computers each equipped with a wireless networking interface card. They can share files and printers this way. how can I share a single Internet connection? 15. If I have more than one hardware access point. (This is called "bridging") Figure 1: Ad-Hoc or Peer-to Peer Networking. Strictly speaking. An ad-hoc. .Wireless Networking 1.PDF Answers Section One . but may not be able to access wired LAN resources. fuelled by the emergence of cross-vendor industry standards such as IEEE 802. but without network cabling. unless one of the computers acts as a bridge to the wired LAN using special software.11. such as in warehousing or point-ofsale handheld equipment.

and include features not commonly found in hardware solutions. allowing wireless computer access to LAN resources. but check your requirements carefully. Software Access Points which run on a computer equipped with a wireless network interface card as used in an ad-hoc or peer-to-peer wireless network. It can connect (or "bridge") the wireless LAN to a wired LAN.b. Hardware access points offer comprehensive support of most wireless features. such as Direct PPPoE support and extensive configuration flexibility. There are two types of access points: i.11 standard. Vicomsoft's solutions support file sharing using TCP/IP. or base station. With appropriate networking software support. (See Figure 2). ii. but may not offer the full range of wireless features defined in the 802. users on the wireless LAN can share files and printers located on the wired LAN and vice versa. . In this type of network the access point acts like a hub. (See Figure 3) The Vicomsoft InterGate suites are software routers that can be used as a basic Software Access Point. Wireless connected computers using a Hardware Access Point. A wireless network can also use an access point. such as file servers or existing Internet Connectivity. Figure 2: Hardware Access Point. providing connectivity for the wireless computers. Apple's Airport Base Station or WebGear's AviatorPRO. Dedicated hardware access points (HAP) such as Lucent's WaveLAN.

which are not interoperable. 4.11 produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). 3. This is a standard defining all aspects of Radio Frequency Wireless networking. Wireless connected computers using a Software Access Point. Can I mix wireless equipment from different vendors? Because most wireless networking hardware vendors support the 802.Figure 3: Software Access Point. The most widely used standard is 802. we recommend verification as the standard is a fairly recent one. and does specify two different methods for wireless communications. Frequency Hopping (FH) and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS or DS).11 standard they can inter operate. .11? Wireless networking hardware requires the use of underlying technology that deals with radio frequencies as well as data transmission. What is IEEE 802. However.

This can be accomplished either with a hardware access point or a software access point. What is the range of a wireless network? . and therefore can be used in the same way as any other network card. It may also allow considerable flexibility in providing access to different network types. with support for the older standard 1mbps and 2mbps speeds. 5. Note that this new standard covers DS-type Networks. This provides some compatibility with different or older equipment. 6. Wireless and Token Ring networks. a software access point may be the best solution. but typically require extra hardware to be purchased if your networking requirements change. can it communicate with computers on a wired LAN as well? To do this you will need some sort of bridge between the wireless and wired network. Also of note is that the latest version of the standard defines 11mbps and 5. Within a short time we expect all new wireless cards. like ethernet cards. to become inexpensive. providing significant benefits to users and administrators.When purchasing wireless networking hardware from separate vendors be sure to obtain guarantees from the vendors that the hardware will interoperate and follows the standards.5mbps networking. not FH types. such as different types of Ethernet. ubiquitous and totally interoperable. as long as standards are followed. Such connections are only limited by the number of slots or interfaces in the computer used for this task. A software access point does not limit the type or number of network interfaces you use. Software access points such as InterGate which uses the wireless interface of the host computer should have no compatibility issues with third party wireless hardware. If my computer is connected to a wireless LAN. Further to this the software access point may include significant additional features such as shared Internet access. Hardware access points are available with various types of network interfaces. If networking requirements go beyond just interconnecting a wired network network to a small wireless network. Typically wireless hardware is identified to the software as a network interface. such as Ethernet or Token Ring. web caching or content filtering.

separate access points are interconnected via a wired LAN. but again this depends upon the environment. or sometimes even to a second wireless LAN if the access point supports this. Typical indoor ranges are 150-300 feet. Using more computers than recommended will cause performance and reliability to suffer. but connected to a main wired LAN for access to network resources. with other more expensive access points supporting up to 100 wireless connections. . but can be shorter if the building construction interferes with radio transmissions. Can I have more than one access point? Yes. (See Figure 4) Figure 4: Multiple Access Points. How many wireless networked computers can use a single access point? This depends upon the manufacturer. manufacturers typically state both indoor and outdoor ranges to give a reasonable indication of reliable performance. Wireless connected computers using Multiple Access Points. such as file servers. and the host computer's ability to process the required information. by using more than a single access point or using a wireless relay /extension point. as the quality of connection deteriorates and the system compensates. The actual distance varies depending upon the environment. Software access points may also impose user limitations. but this depends upon the specific software. multiple access points can be connected to a wired LAN. 8. There are ways to extend the basic operating range of Wireless communications. Some hardware access points have a recommended limit of 10. Also it should be noted that when operating at the limits of range the performance may drop. providing wireless connectivity in specific areas such as offices or classrooms. Longer ranges are possible. In most cases. Outdoor ranges are quoted up to 1000 feet.Each access point has a finite range within which a wireless connection can be maintained between the client computer and the access point. but performance will degrade with distance. See Question 8 for further information. 7.

but have been developed by some manufacturers. When using multiple access points.Note that an "extension point" is not defined in the wireless standard. Wireless connected computers using an Access Point with an Extension Point. " (See the next question for an explanation of Roaming) Some manufacturers produce extension points. (See Figure 5) Figure 5: Extension Point. . Multiple extension points can be strung together to provide wireless access to far away locations from the central access point. which act as wireless relays. each access point wireless area should overlap its neighbors. extending the range of a single access point. -. then multiple access points or extension points can be used.If a single area is too large to be covered by a single access point. This provides a seamless area for users to move around in using a feature called "roaming.

with the software and hardware maintaining a steady network connection by monitoring the signal strength from in-range access points and locking on to the one with the best quality. they are not aware that a different access point is being used from area to area. . usually in the form of a password dialog box. Some access point configurations require security authentication when swapping access points. The Wireless networking hardware automatically swaps to the Access Point with the best signal. What is Roaming? A wireless computer can "roam" from one access point to another. Usually this is completely transparent to the user.9. Access points are required to have overlapping wireless areas to achieve this as can be seen in the following diagram: Figure 6: Roaming. A user can move from Area 1 to Area 2 transparently.

hospitals or businesses with more than one location in immediate proximity but separated by public thoroughfare. Each access point acts as a bridge or router connecting its own LAN to the wireless connection.Not all access points are capable of being configured to support roaming. The wireless connection allows the two access points to communicate with each other. 10. as there is no official standard for this feature. Wireless networking offers a cost-effective solution to users with difficult physical installations such as campuses. Also of note is that any access points for a single vendor should be used when implementing roaming. This type of installation requires two access points. . and therefore interconnect the two LAN's. The software access point provides Wired Ethernet network 2 computers access to Wired Network 1. Can I use a wireless network to interconnect two LANs? Yes. Figure 7: LAN to LAN Wireless Communications A Hardware Access Point providing wireless connectivity to local computers and a software access point.

and is beyond the scope of this introduction. 11.Note that not all hardware access points have the ability to directly interconnect to another hardware access point. Temporary wireless LANs can easily be created for exhibitions. Wireless networking in these environments is a very cost effective alternative also providing future flexibility. What about security? . all without any trailing cabling. Is it true that wireless networking is only good for laptop computers? Although wireless networking offers obvious benefits to users of laptops who move from location to location throughout the day. and that the subject of interconnecting LAN's over wireless connections is a large and complex one. school or business projects. In cases where a small number of computers are separated from a main network a wireless link may be more cost effective than network cabling although the latter is perfectly feasible. 12. See the reference links at the end of this section if you require further information. there are benefits for users of fixed position computers as well: Many schools and businesses have unsuitable building layouts or walls that cannot be wired for various reasons making it difficult or impossible to build a wired network.

(See Figure 9) Figure 8: Software Access Point. the same criteria apply.11 wireless communications have a function called WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).Wireless Networking and the Internet 13. If the wireless network has information that should be secure then WEP should be used. as an intruder does not need physical access to the traditional wired network in order to gain access to data communications. However. but does not usually provide much flexibility beyond very simple configurations. 802. the answer to this question becomes clear. To protect against any potential security issues. ensuring the data is protected at traditional wired network levels. This has led to the common misconception that wireless communications cannot be eavesdropped at all. short wave receivers etc. However. How can I use a wireless network to share an Internet connection? Once you realise that wireless cards are analogous to ethernet cards and that empty space is analogous to ethernet cabling. eavesdropping is possible using specialist equipment. Wireless connected computers using a Software Access Point for shared Internet access. a form of encryption which provides privacy comparable to that of a traditional wired network. . Section Two . Any computer equipped with a wireless network card running suitable Internet sharing software can be used as a software access simple scanners. A hardware access point may provide Internet Sharing capabilities to Wired LAN computers. 802.11 wireless communications cannot be received --much less decoded-. You need a hardware or software access point and a wireless LAN. To share an Internet connection across a LAN you need two things:   an Internet sharing hardware device or software program a LAN If your LAN is wireless. (See Figure 8) A number of vendors offer hardware access points.Wireless communications obviously provide potential security issues. Also it should be noted that traditional Virtual Private Networking (VPN) techniques will work over wireless networks in the same way as traditional wired networks.

how can I share a single Internet connection? If an existing wired LAN already has an Internet connection. Wireless connected computers using Multiple Access Points. Figure 10: Multiple Access Points. then the hardware access points simply connect to your LAN and allow wireless computers to access the existing Internet connection in the same way as wired LAN computers. 14. . If I have more than one hardware access point. Wireless connected computers using a Hardware Access Point for shared Internet access.Figure 9: Hardware Access Point.

then this depends on the access point: Figure 11: Software Access Point sharing one Internet connection.If there is no existing Internet connection. . Wireless connected computers using Multiple Access Points. All wired and wireless computers access the Internet through a single software access point.

. Can networking software identify a wireless computer in the same way it can identify an ethernet computer on the network? Wireless cards look just like ethernet cards to your network drivers. For example. you would still use the same 56K modem to connect to the Internet. or possibly may require an additional Internet sharing device or software program. the wireless part only concerns your LAN. The communications link from your LAN to your Internet service provider (ISP) would be identical whether or not you had a wireless network. 15. In fact. if you connected an ethernet network to the Internet via a 56K modem. wireless networking cards have unique MAC hardware addresses that are formatted like ethernet hardware addresses allocated from the same standards organization. If I use a wireless network to connect to the Internet does my ISP need a wireless network too? If you use a wireless network to connect to the Internet.If an access point provides some form of Internet sharing itself. when you upgraded your network to use wireless. then having multiple such access points connected to a wired LAN may require some special configuration. 16.