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Sams Teach Yourself Network Troubleshooting in 24 Hours, Second Edition by Jonathan Feldman

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Access Points

Basically, 802.11 access points are bridges that plug in to your wired infrastructure and allow wireless terminals and PCs to access that infrastructure. The wireless LAN (WLAN)—that is, the radio spectra in the area that the WLAN operates in—is a shared medium, and does not have dedicated bandwidth the way a switch does.

In fact, a wireless access point, for all intents and purposes, can be considered to have many of the properties of an Ethernet hub. It scales about as well because its MAC (Media Access Control) method is similar to Ethernet’s: Although wireless access points theoretically support thousands of nodes, in real life, only about 20 or so per access point are practical. (For what it’s worth, 802.11b’s MAC is called ...

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