Early chapters of this book introduce basic wireless concepts and essential network services, while later chapters focus on specific aspects of building your own wireless network. Experienced users may prefer to skip around rather than read this book from cover to cover, so here’s an overview of each chapter:

  • Chapter 1, gives a brief history of the state of wireless connectivity and some ideas (and warnings) about how things might proceed.

  • Chapter 2, is an overview of many important logistical considerations you will face in designing your own network; it describes some tools that may make your job easier.

  • Chapter 3, provides a detailed description of critical network components that you will need to provide to your users. Network layout and security are also addressed.

  • Chapter 4, details how to use wireless access point hardware effectively.

  • Chapter 5, is a step-by-step guide to building your own access point using Linux, inexpensive PC hardware, and conventional wireless client cards.

  • Chapter 6, is about extending your range. It looks at using topographic mapping software to evaluate long distance links, and it also examines the myriad antennas, cables, and connectors you are likely to encounter. It also provides a simple method for calculating the usable range of your gear.

  • Chapter 7, investigates some really exotic (and useful!) applications of 802.11b. It includes practical pointers for setting up point-to-point links, some simple repeaters, assembling a 2.4GHz antenna from ordinary household objects, and lots of other fun hackery. It also includes an implementation of a dynamic “captive portal” firewall using open source software.

  • Chapter 8, is a resource guide to some of the major players in the wireless network access revolution. Here you’ll find out how people all over the globe are making ubiquitous wireless network access a reality, all in their free time.

  • Chapter 9, is the (brief) history of my own experiences in setting up public wireless Internet access in Sebastopol, CA (and in meeting directly with the heads of some of the biggest community efforts in the U.S.).

  • Finally, Appendix A provides a path loss calculation table, a reprint of the FCC Part 15 rules, and some other useful odds and ends.

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