Understanding Wireless
Desktop Apps Training - Wireless

 Wireless Basics

In order to set up and use a wireless network you will need to understand several basics about networking. 

Network Definition
A single computer offers powerful options in terms of applications, processing, storage, printing and enjoyment. By connecting many computers together using a network, resources of many computers and peripherals multiplies the abilities of that single computer. The purpose of any network is to share information or resources like printers, databases, etc.

Networks can be as simple as two computers connected using a single network cable or as complex as a wide area network connected with wireless technology.

wireless network

A network by definition is the connection of two or more computers for the purpose of sharing data, printers, applications or an Internet connection.


Helpful Wireless Links

Understanding Wireless

Network Relationship

Network Connections

Wireless Security

Wireless Router

Wireless Channels

Wireless Range

Fedora 10 Wireless

Ubuntu Wireless

Damn Small Linux Wireless

Wireless Tools

WiFi Radar







Network Size
Network size often determines complexity of the network. A home network of three computers is a simplified version of the Internet.


Network Addresses
On a network each computer must have an individual address, like a home address.  In this example each of the three computers has a different address, which is four groups of numbers separated by ".".
The first three groups are the network address and the last group is the computer address.

network addresses

Network Communication
Computers can only talk when they are on the same network.  The first three groups of numbers must be the same for each computer.

In the example, the server at and a workstation at are on the same network, so they can talk.  The workstation at cannot talk to any of the other computers as they have separate network addresses even though they are on the same cable. 


Wireless Channels
When you configure wireless you will see it has channels.  These channels are various frequencies that allow wireless networks to communicate on one channel excluding the other channels.  As you see in the illustration, these channels often overlap.  So, you need to understand what channel you are configuring for your home network or office.

wireless channels

Wireless Access Point

Wireless networking requires a physical device that sends radio waves to the computer. This physical device is called a wireless router or wireless access point. A wireless router connects the internal network to the Internet and has a firewall to protect the inner network. A wireless access point connects the wireless user to a local network.

 wireless access point

The wireless access point simply provides connectivity to the rest of the network. It provides the convenience of wireless and the availability of resources found on the network like printers, servers, etc. So the purpose of the router is primarily to connect to the Internet and to provide the protection afforded by a firewall.


Wireless Router

Setting up the wireless router is more difficult as you will need to setup a firewall to protect the internal network from attack coming from the Internet connection.

wireless router

Wireless Range

Setting up wireless technology requires some understanding of how it works so that you may understand the limitations and requirements needed to use wireless technology. One of the major limits of wireless technology is the range. A typical wireless device like a router or access point will only have a range of about 300 feet. This could be much less if it has the interference of heavy building materials like stone, brick and steel. The other side of the problem is that your wireless device may extend the range into your neighbor's front room where your neighbor could use your network if you did not restrict the use of the network.

 wireless range

In this example, the black circle has access to several wireless networks. It is important to protect your internal network from access that you do not want to provide.