Connecting Clients to a Wireless Network - Page 2

By Brien M. Posey | Posted Nov 28, 2000
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Once you've connected your first wireless client and have verified that the connection is working, your next concern is security. After all, your precious data is floating through the air, where it can be intercepted by anyone with a wireless network card and your WLAN service area number. Fortunately, the Air Connect hub supports encryption.

Of course if you've already mounted your hub on the ceiling or another difficult-to-reach location, it might be hard to attach a serial cable to configure the hub's security. Fortunately, there's an easier way. Earlier I mentioned that it was important to assign a password to the hub. You should do so because the hub contains a built-in Web server. Simply enter the hub's IP address in any Web browser, and you can access the hub's Web server. You can then make any necessary security modifications without having to use a serial cable. In fact, the Web interface, shown in Figure 4, is easier to use than the terminal session you used for the initial configuration process.

Enabling Encryption

Figure 4: The Air Connect hub contains a built-in Web server that lets you reconfigure the hub through any Web browser.

Once you've enabled encryption, you're ready to start adding more clients. Each wireless hub can support up to 63 clients. I've heard that as you approach the client limit, communications can slow down. However, I've run up to three clients off my hub and never experienced a slowdown.

Adding More Clients

CrossLinks

Roaming

You may wonder what happens if you wander out of range while connected through a wireless session. Believe it or not, you don't have to worry about doing so, even if your building is too large to be completely serviced by a wireless hub. That's because wireless network cards work similarly to cellular phones: If they sense that the signal is getting weak, they will search for a stronger signal. Therefore, it's possible to install multiple wireless hubs. As your wireless users stroll through the building, their computers can engage in active roaming as they switch from hub to hub.

Conclusion

As you can see, setting up a wireless network is a fairly simple process. In this article series, I've introduced you to the hardware necessary for building a wireless LAN. I then went on to give you a preview of the configuration process and discussed some of the security issues that you'll face when building a wireless LAN. //

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer. His past experience includes working as the director of information systems for a national chain of health care facilities and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.

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