Setting Up a Wireless Network

There’s something about the term “wireless” that makes it seem as though it must be easier than “wired.” In truth, wireless networking is quite a bit more complicated terminology-wise. There are lots of buzzwords and acronyms everyone assumes that you already know. So, before we get into this topic, let’s get all of that out of the way.

The 802.11 standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., abbreviated IEEE and pronounced EYE-triple-E, is an organization of some 360,000 electrical engineers who develop many of the standards that PC products use to interact with one another. The IEEE isn’t big on giving fancy names to things. They prefer numbers (which somehow seems fitting). Names often get tacked on later. For example, what is now called Ethernet is actually IEEE 802.3. What Apple calls FireWire and Sony calls iLink is actually IEEE 1394.

The home page for IEEE is at

IEEE created the 802.11 standard for most wireless networking today. Several revisions to the original specification have been proposed, with 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n being the four that actually have made it to market at the time of this writing. Most likely, you’ll be using 802.11g or 802.11n because they are the standard to which most of the recently released wireless networking products adhere.

Access point, SSID, WEP, and WPA

Wireless networking requires some kind of wireless access point, also called a base station ...

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