You can save money and improve performance by purchasing an AP that provides additional network services. Here are some of the features you should look for:
- Print server:Connects your printers directly to the WLAN and prints wirelessly without hooking your printer up to a PC
- Dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server:Assigns addresses to each computer on the network
- Network router:Connects to your broadband Internet connection and routes traffic to and from your computers, allowing them all to share a single Internet connection
- Network switch:Connects PCs to the network using Ethernet cables and allows for faster communication between client PCs
Why go wireless?
Besides the obvious advantage of not having to install or invest in Ethernet cables, a WLAN offers many advantages over a wired network. While the initial cost may be higher, in many instances it is cheaper to expand a WLAN than an Ethernet network. A WLAN is also easier to modify, and you can move computers anywhere in range of your WLAN's signal and remain connected. Sharing resources among users on a WLAN is just as easy as it would be on a wired LAN, only more flexible. You can easily share printers, files, and an Internet connection among many computers without running cables through walls, ceilings or under floors. With a WLAN you can remain connected but not attached. Try to do that with an Ethernet connection!
Wireless technology also can be used to expand an existing Ethernet network. Perhaps you already have a network but you would like the freedom to move around with a notebook or tablet computer. You can add an AP to the network and a wireless NIC to the notebook and be able to move around with your notebook while sharing resources and an Internet connection with PCs on your wired LAN.
There are many myths about wireless networking, from health risks and security concerns to the expense of equipment and installation difficulty. Most are inaccurate, but some have a small kernel of truth in them. The following secrets combat some of the most common myths used as arguments against going wireless.