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"Wireless Hacks": Expert Tips for Getting the Most From Your Wireless Gear

September 23, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--In this increasingly wired world, many people are finding that the best way to get connected is to do away with wires entirely. From cable replacement to universal internet connectivity, wireless technology is changing the way we connect to our machines and to each other.

What is it about wireless networking that makes it so alluring on a grand scale? Marketing folk might tell you that the particular feature set and brand name of their product is driving the demand but according to Rob Flickenger, author of the new Wireless Hacks (O'Reilly, US $24.95), the answer is much simpler: it's magic.

"Right where you are sitting now, there could be dozens of wireless data networks slinging information to the far corners of the Earth," explains Flickenger. "A neighbor orders food online while someone across the street is using voice chat to talk to relatives (for free!) in Hong Kong, all the while someone upstairs is downloading a new album from their favorite band's web site in San Francisco. The information flows all around you without you seeing or hearing a thing. Make no mistake, wireless networking is probably the second most magical technology on the planet--just behind the Internet."

And, indeed, more than twenty-two million Wi-Fi devices shipped last year, with double that projected for some time this year. But, as with any new technology, buying the gear is only the first step. Understanding how to make the best use of it is another story. "Wireless Hacks" offers 100 industrial-strength tips about wireless networking, contributed by experts who apply what they know in the real world every day. The book includes "hacks" on extending range, optimizing performance, providing services on a large scale, and even making your own antenna. "Wireless Hacks" covers several wireless technologies, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, Bluetooth, and GPRS.

In addition to showing what is possible with off-the-shelf hardware, "Wireless Hacks" shows readers how to extend that hardware well beyond the original manufacturers' intentions. And when standard access point hardware just isn't enough to do the job, the book covers everything you need to know to build your own custom access point.

"Wireless Hacks" provides a wealth of useful techniques for making the most out of wireless technology, including:

  • Making sense of the alphabet soup of the 802.11 standards, and understanding which technology makes sense for solving your particular problem

  • Using Bluetooth, mobile radios, mobile data networks, and other exotic methods to keep you connected, no matter where you are

  • Practical methods for detecting, analyzing, and monitoring wireless networks

  • Extending the range of your network, and making the best possible use of the available radio spectrum

  • Designing and building your own antennas

  • Engineering long distance network links that span several miles

  • Understanding the security issues of wireless networking, and protecting yourself and your users from unauthorized access and eavesdropping

Written for the intermediate to advanced wireless user, "Wireless Hacks" is full of direct, practical, ingenious solutions to real-world networking problems. Whether your wireless network needs to extend to the edge of your office or to the other end of town, this collection of non-obvious, "from the field" techniques will show you how to get the job done.

Additional Resources:

Wireless Hacks
Rob Flickenger
ISBN 0-596-00559-8, 286 pages, $24.95 US, $38.95 CA, 17.50 UK
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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