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Encyclopedia > Wireless access point
Planet WAP-4000 Wireless Access Point
Planet WAP-4000 Wireless Access Point

In computer networking, a wireless access point (WAP or AP) is a device that connects wireless communication devices together to form a wireless network. The WAP usually connects to a wired network, and can relay data between wireless devices and wired devices. Several WAPs can link together to form a larger network that allows "roaming". (In contrast, a network where the client devices manage themselves - without the need for any access points - becomes an ad-hoc network.) WAPs have IP addresses for configuration. Image File history File links Planet WAP-4000 File links The following pages link to this file: Wireless access point ... Image File history File links Planet WAP-4000 File links The following pages link to this file: Wireless access point ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... While the term wireless network may technically be used to refer to any type of network that is wireless, the term is most commonly used to refer to a telecommunications network whose interconnections between nodes is implemented without the use of wires, such as a computer network (which is a... Ethernet is a large, diverse family of frame-based computer networking technologies that operate at many speeds for local area networks (LANs). ... Roaming is a general term in wireless telecommunications that refers to the extending of connectivity service in a location that is different from the home location where the service was registered. ... In computing, a client is a system that accesses a (remote) service on another computer by some kind of network. ... A mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) is a self-configuring network of mobile routers (and associated hosts) connected by wireless links—the union of which form an arbitrary topology. ... An IP the Internet Protocol standard (IP)—in simpler terms, a computer address. ...

Contents

Introduction

Wireless Access Point with integrated DSL modem and network switch - a residential gateway
Wireless Access Point with integrated DSL modem and network switch - a residential gateway

Low-cost and easily-installed Wi-Fi WAPs grew rapidly in popularity in the early 2000s. These devices offered a way to avoid the tangled messes of category 5 cable associated with typical Ethernet networks of the day. Whereas wiring a business, home, or school often requires stringing many cables through walls and ceilings, wireless networking allows connecting with few or no new cables. Wireless networks also allow greater mobility, freeing users from the restrictions of using a computer cabled to the wall. In the industrial and commercial contexts, wireless networking has had a big impact on operations: employees in these areas now often carry portable data terminals integrating barcode scanners and wireless links, allowing them to update work in progress and inventory in real-time. At home with a residential gateway, any convenient chair or lawn becomes a desk for the laptop. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 581 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,576 × 1,144 pixels, file size: 886 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Wireless 802. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 581 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,576 × 1,144 pixels, file size: 886 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Wireless 802. ... Westell Model 6100 ADSL modem An asymmetric digital subscriber line transceiver, also known as an ADSL modem or DSL modem, is a device used to connect a single computer to a DSL phone line, in order to use an ADSL service. ... A network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. ... A residential gateway is a hardware device connecting a home network with a wide area network (WAN) or the Internet. ... Official Wi-Fi logo Wi-Fi (pronounced wye-fye, IPA: ) is a wireless technology brand owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance intended to improve the interoperability of wireless local area network products based on the IEEE 802. ... Cat5 patch cable Category 5 cable, commonly known as Cat 5, is a twisted pair cable type designed for high signal integrity. ... Ethernet is a frame-based computer networking technology for local area networks (LANs). ... For other uses, see Home (disambiguation). ... Students in Rome, Italy. ... A brick wall A wall is a usually solid structure that defines and sometimes protects an area. ... This intricate ceiling is part of the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, designed by architect Walter Burley Griffin. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A typical PDT A portable data terminal, or PDT, is an electronic device that is used to enter or retrieve data via wireless transmission (WLAN or WWAN). ... A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is a computer peripheral for reading barcodes printed on various surfaces. ... Inventory is a list of goods and materials, or those goods and materials themselves, held available in stock by a business. ... A residential gateway is a hardware device connecting a home network with a wide area network (WAN) or the Internet. ...


A typical corporate use involves attaching several WAPs to a wired network and then providing wireless access to the office LAN. Within the range of the WAPs, the wireless end user has a full network connection with the benefit of mobility. In this instance, the WAP functions as a gateway for clients to access the wired network. Another use involves bridging two wired networks in conditions inappropriate for cable: for example, a manufacturer can wirelessly connect a remote warehouse's wired network with a separate (though within line of sight) office's wired network. LAN redirects here. ... A network bridge connects multiple network segments at the data link layer (layer 2) of the OSI model. ... When viewing a scene, as in optics, photography, or even hunting, the line of sight is the straight line between the observer and the target. ...


Another wireless topology, a lily-pad network, consists of a series of access points spread over a large area, each connected to a different network. This provides hot spots where wireless clients can connect to the Internet without regard for the particular networks to which they have attached for the moment. The concept can become organic in large cities, where a combination of coffeehouses, libraries, other public spaces offering wireless access, as well as privately owned open access points, allow clients to roam over a large area (like hopping from lily pad to lily pad), staying more or less continuously connected. A Möbius strip, an object with only one surface and one edge; such shapes are an object of study in topology. ... A series of access points spread over a large area, each connected to a different network, providing hot spots where wireless clients can connect to the Internet without regard for the particular networks to which they link. ... Hotspots are venues that offer Wi-Fi access. ... Discussing the War in a Paris Café, Illustrated London News 17 September 1870 Coffee shop redirects here. ... Julio Pérez Ferrero Library - Cúcuta, Colombia A modern-style library in Chambéry A library is a collection of information, sources, resources, and services: it is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, or a private individual. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Gathering place. ...


Home wireless networks, the majority, generally have only one WAP to connect all the computers in a home. Most are wireless routers, meaning converged devices that include a WAP, Ethernet router, and often a switch in the same package. Many also converge a broadband modem. Most owners leave their encryption settings at default, hence neighbors can use them. In places where most homes have their own WAP within range of the neighbors' WAP, it's possible for technically savvy people to turn off their encryption and set up a wireless community network, creating an intra-city communication network without the need of wired networks. A home network is a residential local area network, and is used to connect multiple devices within the homes. ... This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


A WAP may also act as the network's arbitrator, negotiating when each nearby client device can transmit. However, the vast majority of currently installed IEEE 802.11 networks do not implement this, using a distributed pseudo-random algorithm instead. Arbitration is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the arbitrators or arbitral tribunal), by whose decision (the award) they agree to be bound. ... IEEE 802. ...


Limitations

One IEEE 802.11 WAP can typically communicate with 30 client systems located within a radius of 100 m. However, the actual range of communication can vary significantly, depending on such variables as indoor or outdoor placement, height above ground, nearby obstructions, other electronic devices that might actively interfere with the signal by broadcasting on the same frequency, type of antenna, the current weather, operating radio frequency, and the power output of devices. Network designers can extend the range of WAPs through the use of repeaters and reflectors, which can bounce or amplify radio signals that ordinarily would go un-received. In experimental conditions, wireless networking has operated over distances of several kilometers. IEEE 802. ... This article is about an authentication, authorization, and accounting protocol. ... A yagi antenna Most simply, an antenna is an electronic component designed to send or receive radio waves. ... For the geological process, see Weathering or Erosion. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Radio waves. ... For other uses, see Repeater (disambiguation). ... A reflector can mean one of several things: a reflecting telescope a device or a part of an antenna that reflects radio waves a device that causes reflection, for example, a mirror or a retroreflector a 1981 album by Pablo Cruise In LAPACK the term reflector with the types block... For the British rock band of the same name, see Amplifier (band). ... A kilometer (Commonwealth spelling: kilometre), symbol: km is a unit of length in the metric system equal to 1,000 metres (from the Greek words χίλια (khilia) = thousand and μέτρο (metro) = count/measure). ...


Most jurisdictions have only a limited number of frequencies legally available for use by wireless networks. Usually, adjacent WAPs will use different frequencies to communicate with their clients in order to avoid interference between the two nearby systems. But wireless devices can "listen" for data traffic on other frequencies, and can rapidly switch from one frequency to another to achieve better reception on a different WAP. However, the limited number of frequencies becomes problematic in crowded downtown areas with tall buildings housing multiple WAPs, when overlap causes interference. IEEE 802. ... For other uses, see Interference (disambiguation). ...


Wireless networking lags behind wired networking in terms of increasing bandwidth and throughput. While (as of 2004) typical wireless devices for the consumer market can reach speeds of 11 Mbit/s (megabits per second) (IEEE 802.11b) or 54 Mbit/s (IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11g), wired hardware of similar cost reaches 1000 Mbit/s (Gigabit Ethernet). One impediment to increasing the speed of wireless communications comes from Wi-Fi's use of a shared communications medium, so a WAP is only able to use somewhat less than half the actual over-the-air rate for data throughput. Thus a typical 54 MBit/s wireless connection actually carries TCP/IP data at 20 to 25 Mbit/s. Users of legacy wired networks expect the faster speeds, and people using wireless connections keenly want to see the wireless networks catch up. Bandwidth is the difference between the upper and lower cutoff frequencies of, for example, a filter, a communication channel, or a signal spectrum, and is typically measured in hertz. ... In communication networks, throughput is the amount of digital data per time unit that is delivered over a physical or logical link, or that is passing through a certain network node. ... The Megabit is a unit of information storage, abbreviated Mbit or sometimes Mb. ... Not to be confused with the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE). ... IEEE 802. ... The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE (pronounced as eye-triple-ee) is an international non-profit, professional organization incorporated in the State of New York, United States. ... IEEE 802. ... The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE (pronounced as eye-triple-ee) is an international non-profit, professional organization incorporated in the State of New York, United States. ... IEEE 802. ... Gigabit Ethernet (GbE or 1 GigE) is a term describing various technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second, as defined by the IEEE 802. ... Official Wi-Fi logo Wi-Fi (pronounced wye-fye, IPA: ) is a wireless technology brand owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance intended to improve the interoperability of wireless local area network products based on the IEEE 802. ... The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet runs. ...


As of 2006 a new standard for wireless, 802.11n is awaiting final certification from IEEE. This new standard operates at speeds up to 540 Mbit/s and at longer distances (~50 m) than 802.11g. Use of legacy wired networks (especially in consumer applications) is expected to decline sharply as the common 100 Mbit/s speed is surpassed and users no longer need to worry about running wires to attain high bandwidth. IEEE 802. ...


Interference can commonly cause problems with wireless networking reception, as many devices operate using the 2.4 GHz ISM band. A nearby wireless phone or anything with greater transmission power within close proximity can markedly reduce the perceived signal strength of a wireless access point. Microwave ovens are also known to interfere with wireless networks. For other uses, see Interference (disambiguation). ... A gigahertz is a billion hertz or a thousand megahertz, a measure of frequency. ... The industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands were originally reserved internationally for non-commercial use of RF electromagnetic fields for industrial, scientific and medical purposes. ... In information theory, a signal is the sequence of states of a communications channel that encodes a message. ...


Security

Main article: Wireless LAN Security

Wireless access has special security considerations. Many wired networks base the security on physical access control, trusting all the users on the local network, but if wireless access points are connected to the network, anyone on the street or in the neighboring office could connect. The most common solution is wireless traffic encryption. Modern access points come with built-in encryption. The first generation encryption scheme WEP proved easy to crack; the second and third generation schemes, WPA and WPA2, are considered secure if a strong enough password or passphrase is used. [1] It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Wireless security. ... For other uses, see Security (disambiguation). ... Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), sometimes inaccurately referred to as Wireless Encryption Protocol, is a scheme to secure IEEE 802. ... Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) is a class of systems to secure wireless (Wi-Fi) computer networks. ... IEEE 802. ... A password is a form of secret authentication data that is used to control access to a resource. ... A passphrase is a sequence of words or other text used to control access to a computer system, program or data. ...


Some advocates would like to see all access points, or the majority that are used only for home Internet access, openly available for the public. The rationale is that everyone would benefit from being able to get online while on the road.[citation needed]


See also

  • Hotspots - access points or wireless networks open to the public
  • Wireless LAN - networks consisting of zero or more access points plus devices
  • WarXing - searching for open networks
  • Access point base station - A base station optionally providing cellular coverage
  • Access Point Name - APN is the denomination of a GPRS access point.

Hotspots are venues that offer Wi-Fi access. ... The notebook is connected to the wireless access point using a PC card wireless card. ... WarXing is the activity of detecting publicly accessible computer systems or networks. ... An Access Point Base Station - sometimes called a femtocell - is a scalable, multi-channel, two-way communication device extending a typical base station by incorporating all of the major components of the telecommunications infrastructure. ... Access Point Name or APN is the name of an access point for GPRS. An access point is: An Internet network to which a mobile can be connected A set of settings which are used for that connection A particular option in a set of settings in a mobile phone...

References

Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...

External links

  • Wi-Fi Alliance

  Results from FactBites:
 
Wireless Network Access Point - DWL-G700AP by D-Link (496 words)
With its web-based setup wizard, the DWL-G700AP Access Point ensures that you will be up and running on a wireless network in just a matter of minutes.
The DWL-G700AP Access Point features Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and 64/128-bit WEP Encryption to provide an enhanced level of security for wireless data communications.
With easy-to-use Web-based management, the DWL-G700AP Access Point is the right choice for setting up your first wireless network or extending the range of an existing wireless network.
Wireless Access Point (802.11g) DWL-2100AP (761 words)
The DWL-2100AP Wireless Access Point also supports SNMP v.3 for better network management with the provided Wireless AP Manager software that manages network configuration and firmware upgrades.
The DWL-2100AP features WDS (Wireless Distribution System) that can be configured to perform in any one of five modes: a Wireless Access Point, a Point-to-Point (PtP) bridge with another DWL-2100AP, a Point-to-Multipoint (PtMP) bridge, a Repeater for range extension, or as a Wireless Client.
Wireless security is addressed as the DWL-2100AP Wireless Access Point uses WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and 802.1X authentication to provide a higher level of security for data communication amongst wireless clients.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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