When we outlined this chapter, we devoted significant space to standard wired Ethernet networking. After all, we've been running a wired network in our house since about 1985—the days of ARCNet on RG-62 coax cable—and have about a mile (literally) of cable running through our walls, attic, and basement. But then we realized that people nowadays usually don't want to run network cables throughout their homes.
Wireless networking is where the action is. If we had any doubts, a quick trip to Best Buy quashed them. The shelves were full of wireless networking gear. There were few wired networking components in stock, and those were gathering dust. So we decided to refocus this chapter on wireless networking.
Wireless networking has some key advantages relative to wired networking:
A wireless network is, by definition, flexible. You're not tethered by a cable to the nearest network jack. You can install a new PC in the kids' bedroom without having to drill holes in the walls and run a cable own to your office. You can carry your notebook from your office to the den to the deck, with your network connection active the whole time. You can relocate or add systems without worrying about how to get them connected to the network.
Wireless networks are very simple to install and maintain. Once your wireless network is set up, all you need do is install a wireless network card ...