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Linux Unwired by Brian Jepson, Edd Wilder-James, Roger Weeks

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Chapter 3. Getting On the Network

Assuming that you didn’t encounter any problems in Chapter 2, you should now have a functional wireless network adapter, and the knowledge to configure and use it under Linux. If you have a wireless network set up at home or at work, chances are you will use this network most of the time.

If, however, you have Linux installed on a notebook PC, chances are you’re often in transit, and you probably want to find and use wireless networks in cities, airports, hotels, and conferences.

This chapter discusses tools and techniques that allow you to find available wireless networks, whether they are fee-based or free.

Hotspots

It would be pretty much impossible for any notebook user not to have heard the term hotspot . Wireless hotspots are popping up in many locations; coffee shops, airports, hotels, conferences, restaurants, city parks, and libraries are just a few places where you might find a hotspot.

You can easily build your own hotspot, and we cover this in detail in Chapter 6. A hotspot requires at least one access point, a good antenna that covers the needed area, a broadband Internet connection, and some form of access control (if you want to restrict access).

Most hotspots are built around these four basic pieces. Some use DSL as their broadband Internet connection, while many of the commercial hotspots use a T1 line or other dedicated circuit. However, many hotspots are simply in a house or apartment, particularly in dense urban areas, and these connections ...

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