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802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition by Matthew S. Gast

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Chapter 17. Using 802.11 on Windows

Whether you’ve made it to this point by skipping Chapter 3-16, or whether you’ve read all the theory, we’re now going to get our hands dirty and start installing equipment.

Development of 802.11 management interfaces has followed the familiar progression of Windows applications. In the beginning, there was a great deal of variation between individual vendors. As popularity grew, Microsoft integrated 802.11 configuration into the operating system, subsuming vendor-specific management tools into an overall framework.

From the standpoint of practical system and network administration, working with 802.11 is similar to working with Ethernet. Installing 802.11 drivers is nearly identical to installing Ethernet drivers, and the network interfaces behave almost exactly like Ethernet interfaces. 802.11 interfaces cause an ARP cache to be brought into existence, and other software may even perceive the wireless interface as an Ethernet interface. Unlike many Ethernet drivers, however, 802.11 drivers can have a number of advanced knobs and features that reflect the additional management features presented in Chapter 8.

This chapter discusses Windows configuration of wireless cards on both Windows XP and Windows 2000. I strongly advise using Windows XP for wireless-enabled machines because it is generally easier to use and has substantial additional support for new protocols. Third-party supplicants generally disable the built-in supplicant. Occasionally, however, ...

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