By far the most well-known wireless device is the wireless access point (WAP). This device quite often also acts as a router, firewall, and IP proxy. It allows for the connectivity of various wireless devices such as laptops, PDAs, handheld computers, and so on. It does so by making connections via radio waves on specific frequencies. Client computers and handheld devices must use the same frequency in order to connect to the WAP. In the following exercise, we will identify wireless access points, wireless network adapters, and wireless bridges and repeaters.

EXAMINE WIRELESS DEVICES
To examine wireless devices, perform these steps:
1. Execute a Bing search in the images section for the term “wireless access point.” Take a look at some of the various types of WAPs and their connections.
2. Examine Figure 3-7. This displays the front LED panel of a common wireless access point. Notice there is a green LED for the WLAN connection. WLAN is short for wireless local area network; the LED tells us that wireless is enabled on this device. This particular device also acts as a 4-port switch; these ports are labeled “Ethernet,” and two of them have green-lit LEDs, which means that computers are physically connected to those ports and are active. Finally, the “Internet” LED is lit, which is the physical connection from the WAP to the Internet. Although a WAP by itself is just a wireless transmitter, usually with a single port to connect to the LAN, multifunction network devices like these are very common in small networks and home offices.

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3. Execute a Bing search in the images section for the term “wireless network adapter.” Examine the results. Wireless network adapters allow for connectivity between a desktop computer or laptop and the wireless access point. They come in many shapes and sizes, including USB, PC Card, ExpressCard, and, of course, as an internal PCI or PCI Express adapter card for a personal computer. Most laptops today have builtin wireless network adapters, which are basically a chip on a circuit board with an antenna attached.
4. Access the Internet and execute searches on various wireless manufacturers’ Web sites to find out about the latest wireless access points and network adapters they offer. Write down your results for each of the following manufacturers’ fastest access points and network adapters:
• www.d-link.com
• http://home.cisco.com/en-US/wireless/
• http://www.netgear.com/
• http://www.belkin.com/
5. Execute a Bing search in the images section for the term “wireless repeater.” Examine the results. A wireless repeater is used to extend the coverage of a wireless network.Due to the fact that most WLANs only have a range of about 100 feet or so (depending on the standard), wireless repeaters are often needed to extend that signal further.They can be wired to the access point, but more often than not, they are placed on the perimeter of the existing wireless network area.

6. Execute a Bing search in the images section for the term “wireless bridge.” Examine the results. A wireless bridge is similar to a wireless repeater, but the bridge can connect different 802.11 standards together; this is known as bridge mode.
7. Access a wireless access point simulator. We use the D-link DIR-655 emulator later in this lesson. Take a look at the following link now, and login to the DIR-655 Device UI emulator to become acquainted with its interface. There is no password:
http://support.dlink.com/emulators/dir655/