Linux - Wireless NetworkingThis forum is for the discussion of wireless networking in Linux.
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1. how big are wireless networks now?
2. why is there a huge interest in this area? ie. what's the potential or vision?
3. does a wireless network use radio waves?
4. do mobile phones belong to this category of the wireless network?
4. do mobile phones use radio waves?
1) what do you mean how big? if you're referring to the range, depending on the WAP, they can go for about 300 meters (give or take). but if you're talking about number of clients, that really depends on the network and how many WAPs you have. of course, you're always going to need a wired infrastructure.
2) why is there such a huge interest in cell phones? people don't like wires. besides, with computers constantly getting smaller (laptops) people don't like to have to plug in to get online. i know i hate it... which is why i built myself a wireless network, so i can walk around my apartment with my laptop. :-)
3) the current 802.11b standard is on the 2.4GHz frequency. however, 5GHz is quickly becoming popular, which is a good thing because the 2.4GHz band is getting crowded. plus 5GHz has t3 capabilities, whereas 2.4GHz is only t1 speeds.
4) i really wouldn't put mobile phones in the same category, since they run completely different software (at least now) and technically aren't "computers". although, it probably won't be long before the two will fall into the same category.
5) of course mobile phones use "radio waves". how else do you expect them to work, magic? :-)
Yeah, everything Syncrm said is dead on except that part of #1. How big are they? Too big, way too many jokers have wireless LANs, wide open, or using the rather humorous WEP, which maked CSS look tough. The actual range? 300 meters is buying into the marketing. I've gotten that before, cranked down to 2 M/b using Pringles cans with bottoms cut out and rifle sites...
Okay, I shouldn't be mumbling about how bored I've been.
I've had a lot of problems with walls fragging the signal; problems that a drill and good cheap spool of cat-5 would have tackled better. Honestly, if you can cut the whole, please do so. Aside from that they're fun gear to play with really. I haven't found any Linux support for 802.11a yet, and just had my first question about it the other day. I also had the spec regurgitated to me by someone who speaks ieee and really its not all that good. Its not backwards compatible with b, and the speeds ramp from ~70 M/b, down to normal at 54M/bit, but as soon as there is solid obstruction, or any solid frame rate overhead, boom... 5.5, or half 'b' at shorter ranges.
okay, i haven't exactly memorized the ieee numbering (yea i know it's not too hard to remember, just that i didn't bother before), so i don't really know what 802.11b entails. details please? (either a website link or your own is fine)
so question 3 remains... are wireless networks using radio waves?
as for 5. Syncrm, no i know it's not magic... or rather it's not overly mysterious it's one of those things where i heard before but have not made the effort to remember and need to clear the haze of in my memory.
and yea... i've always wondered about things physically getting in the way of wireless networks...
ok, as for question number 5, yes they do use radio waves. i thought that would be assumed when i said they were on the 2.4GHz band. and when it comes to physical abstructions, i've found that cement is my worst enemy. and, of course, the further you are away or the more crap you have between you and your WAP (especially microwaves) the more bandwidth you're gonna lose. just look at it like a cordless phone... you can only go so far.
and as for the amount of wireless networks out there, i agree with fin... there are too many. i love driving around and sniffing packets with my laptop and finding WAPs that broadcast their essid to the world, and the users who bought it didn't even bother changing the default settings. so all i have to do is set my card to match what their WAP is looking for (channel, essid) and i'm online. but if you know what you're doing, then wireless can be almost as secure as a regular network... but that all depends on how you run things.
To keep this thread going as I never get to talk about what bugs me... I've found a bigger enemy than cement: Marble. I work in a Library where they had to throw up 2-3x as many APs as they thought they would because a library is basically built like a fortress to support all that weight.
Syncrm the war driver eh? I've never had the inclination... okay, really the laptop battery life or the AC inverter to do that on my own... and Atlanta is really spread out... although I was happy to knock into a wireless LAN once from one of my favorite local diners, but I was at extreme range so the connection wasn't fun to use.
Oh, and a secure version of a wlan: a VPN, a paranoid one that uses MAC addressing, and a redirect before gatewaying page that requires passwording. I looked into it, and it has to be a nightmare to setup.
hm... the radio wave network sounds slightly better than the infra-red solution. when i first heard of the infra-red network, i thought it was a joke. then when i found out people actually tried using it i thought the whole world had gone mad...
but i suppose there'll always be wires... anyone else says different?
IrDa? yipes, the max throughput on Ir was something on the order of... 56k? I might even be a little high. That and the line of site problem? No way man, that's people going way too far to avoid ethernet. I think I'll have to stick with my spaghetti wired house for the time being.
wireless range is quite poor, even if they market 100feet +. With average wally you have tough times with over 10m (30ft) of distance. Which is not neccessary bad. (think of your neighbour having free internet access, seeing your files ++, if you can't secure your network properly)
But the idea is cool, think of guys in the block having wireless, playing fifa2002 on the porch...
i really haven't had too much of a problem with my wireless security as of yet. i live in a brick apt complex, and once you're outside of the building the range is pretty crappy. you can get a few hundred feet away without significant packet loss, but unless you were parked next to my car you'd probably have a hard time trying to hack in. plus, my building only has 8 people living in it... and i know for a fact that none of them would even know how to start hacking my network. they have better things to do. :-)
the reason why i love my wireless network so much is that i have an unusual amount of laptops as compared to desktops. and as many of you know, i'm sure, laptops and patch cable can be kind of a pain. plus i love to sit out on my balcony at night with my laptop. :-)
that and my firewall only lets packets from specific internal IPs out to the inet. so even if someone did get access to my network, they couldn't do much.
and as for bandwidth, of course 802.11b is gonna be slower than a 10/100 line, but most of the stuff i do on my network is either browsing the inet or working on my own data files.
basically, IMHO, wireless networks are a great solution for laptop/mobile users who don't require a lot of bandwidth. but if you're talking about an actual network infrastructure then you're better off going with a wired network.