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Linux Unwired Paperback – Apr 18 2004
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"'Out of the box' isn't a commonly heard phrase in the Linux community, but perhaps 'out of the book' should be! If you want your Linux wireless network with the minimum fuss, it's an essential read." Davey Winder - PC Plus, September; Linux Unwired covers a lot of ground in a short space and it manages to do it well, for the Linux WIFI enthusiast this book could become a constant reference. Computer Shopper, June 2005
A Complete Guide to Wireless ConfigurationSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Before getting into the details of getting Linux to work with wireless the authors provide a thorough understanding of radio waves and how they act, hardware, and antenna types. Understanding these basic concepts is important if your system is to work the way you want.
One of the really nice features of the book is the information on picking the right card so you have the fewest problems getting things up and running. The authors even name specific manufacturers and card models that work well with Linux and then they go through installing the driver and configuring the software to work with the device. Along the same lines they provide information on Linux friendly access point providers and even building your own access point.
One you have your Linux system up and running on wireless there is a chapter on locating hotspots and using them to get onto the Internet. This chapter really only covers the basics of locating hotspots. If you are really interested in this area you might try another O'Reilly book just on this subject titled "WarDriving, Drive, Detect, Defend". Of course, if you are concerned about your wireless security (and you should be) it includes information on configuring Wired Equivalency Protocol (WEP) and Wireless Protected Access (WPA).Read more ›
It should be noted early on that 802.11b is not the only thing covered in the book. The other variants (a and g) are there, in addition to IRDA (infrared), Bluetooth, and Data over Cellular. On the latter point, much of the content deals with US based providers, but it still provides a good backing on the subject for those of us outside the country.
802.11b is the main focus, taking up around half the book. It starts with a discussion of the chipsets behind the cards, and how the map to Linux support. Here is where the reader gets advice on which card to buy, or at least what to look out for when buying a card. One thing I found interesting was the WLAN driver loader, which is an inexpensive product that lets Linux load binary WLAN modules. Some cards are not supported enough in Linux to do things like WEP security, which is where this product comes in. Again, the book leads the reader around the situations when this is necessary and when it isn't.
In addition to WEP, other methods of authentication are covered such as 802.1x authentication and 802.11i, the successor to WEP. It's also a good example of the broad scope of the book and a focus on interoperability with existing systems, rather than assuming the reader is building everything from the ground up.
Access points take up two chapters, the first looking at how to use them with Linux.Read more ›
Half the book is devoted to WiFi. A direct measure of its popularity. It describes the various types of hardware available for the different 802.11 protocols. Specific instructions on installing and using. They also provide an entire chapter on the installing and running of an access point. Some WiFi users have this as their key need, because the access point is how a WiFi net communicates with the rest of the world.
Other types of wireless interactions are possible. Bluetooth. Infrared. Cellular. GPS. Each gets its own chapter. Typically with a survey of the latest vendors' hardware. The level of discussion is detailed enough for practical use.
First of all, and most significantly for a Linux book, it's hard to get a handle on the subject from the free information available on the web. I'm sure all of the information in this book is out there, but it's scattered far and wide, and this book is clearly a big time saver.
Second of all, the authors know their subject inside and out, and they have organized it pretty well. I have an Orinoco card, and the explanations of the differences in the various drivers for the card have been extremely helpful to me. Some drivers will let you scan for wireless networks, and others won't -- that's the sort of thing that would burn hours and hours of troubleshooting time, but it's all explained clearly here.
I bought this book so I could get a wireless connection going on a Linux From Scratch laptop, but after reading the book, I'd like to build my own access point with Linux.
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