Today's mandatory connectivity requirements would be a farce without the ubiquity of wireless connections, whether these are cell phones leveraging a distant tower, your cell phone or PDA syncing to your PC via Bluetooth or infrared, or your laptop using wireless network connections via an access point hidden in the linen closet in your hotel. It is incredibly liberating to be able to travel without carrying every cable and adapter that could possibly connect device A to device B, especially when airport security seems to frown on suitcases full of cables, power supplies, and connectivity hardware last seen in the laboratory of Victor von Frankenstein (no relation to the author).
Like many other high-tech domains, wireless networking has its own vocabulary and a bewildering set of alphabetically similar but conceptually unique acronyms, protocols, and so on. The first section of this chapter provides a basic overview of wireless networking and associated terminology today. Subsequent sections of this chapter explain how to configure wireless devices that are directly supported by Linux, explain how to work with wireless devices that are not supported by Linux (an impressive trick), and provide tips and tricks for using Microsoft Windows drivers with your Ubuntu or Kubuntu Linux system.