Chapter 7. Cut the Cord: Using Wireless Networking

In This Chapter

  • Introducing wireless networking

  • Connecting to unencrypted wireless networks

  • Connecting to encrypted wireless networks

  • Using a Windows wireless network interface driver

How did people ever live without wireless networking? Before wireless fidelity networking — WiFi (pronounced WHY‐fye), for short — we were tethered to our Ethernet cables — or worse, to telephone cords and dialup modems. In retrospect, it was like living without electricity or telephones — or for younger readers, without cellphones and text messaging.

Fortunately, the smart people from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) realized what wireless networking could achieve using radio frequency (RF) transmissions. The IEEE had previously designed the specifications used to create wired networking and decided to extend those protocols into the wireless realm. After the wireless protocols were designed, manufacturers used them to create the WiFi products we use today.

This chapter describes how to connect your Ubuntu computer — laptop or desktop — to an existing wireless network. I tell you how you can make three different types of connections using a Linux‐compatible wireless network interface (also called a network device or a network interface adapter — NIC). You can do it without encryption and with either WEP (wired equivalent privacy) or WPA/WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access) encryption. I also tell you how you can adapt existing proprietary ...

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