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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
What if you could build a network that gives high-speed wireless web connections to everyone in your building, your school, your small business, your neighborhood? With Wi-Fi 802.11b technology, you can. This stuff's so powerful, so cool, so surprisingly cheap, you wonder if its inventors realized what they were doing.
Rob Flickenger sure does. In his spare time, he built the Sebastopol Community Network (NoCAT), which provides wireless access for the publishing folks at O'Reilly -- and free web browsing to anyone with a Wi-Fi card who wanders by. Drawing on that experience, he's written the first complete guide to using 802.11b technology to build free public (or, for that matter, private) networks. Flickenger covers it all: planning, network layouts, component purchasing, interoperability, deploying Internet protocols, setting up peer-to-peer networks with Linux-based gateways, applications, security, and power restrictions (don't run afoul of the law).
Since the technology's still new, early adopters like Flickinger sometimes have to cobble together their own solutions (e.g., for authentication) or discover the performance realities through trial and error (you'll learn why the roof isn't always the best place for your antennae and why the best season to install your network is springtime). But make no mistake: unless the "powers that be" and their lawyers find a way to stop it, this is going to be huge. Reading Flickenger's chapter of case studies from around the U.S., you can just taste the coming revolution. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jerseybased marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.