Appendix b wireless networking basics, Wireless networking overview, Infrastructure mode – NETGEAR ME103 User Manual

Page 71: Appendix b, Wireless networking basics

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Wireless Networking Basics


August 2003

Appendix B

Wireless Networking Basics

This chapter provides an overview of wireless networking and security.

Wireless Networking Overview

The ME103 Access Point conforms to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
802.11b standard for wireless LANs (WLANs). On an 802.11b wireless link, data is encoded using
direct-sequence spread-spectrum (DSSS) technology and is transmitted in the unlicensed radio
spectrum at 2.5GHz. The maximum data rate for the wireless link is 11 Mbps, but it will
automatically back down from 11 Mbps to 5.5, 2, and 1 Mbps when the radio signal is weak or
when interference is detected.

The 802.11 standard is also called Wireless Ethernet or Wi-Fi by the Wireless Ethernet
Compatibility Alliance (WECA, see

), an industry standard group promoting

interoperability among 802.11 devices. The 802.11 standard offers two methods for configuring a
wireless network - ad hoc and infrastructure.

Infrastructure Mode

With a wireless Access Point, you can operate the wireless LAN in the infrastructure mode. This
mode provides wireless connectivity to multiple wireless network devices within a fixed range or
area of coverage, interacting with wireless nodes via an antenna.

In the infrastructure mode, the wireless access point converts airwave data into wired Ethernet
data, acting as a bridge between the wired LAN and wireless clients. Connecting multiple Access
Points via a wired Ethernet backbone can further extend the wireless network coverage. As a
mobile computing device moves out of the range of one access point, it moves into the range of
another. As a result, wireless clients can freely roam from one Access Point domain to another and
still maintain seamless network connection.