Building Wireless Community Networks
Implementing the Wireless Web
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2001
Pages: 144

In Building Wireless Community Networks, author and O'Reilly network administrator Rob Flickenger offers a compelling case for building wireless networks on a local level: They are inexpensive, and they can be implemented and managed by the community using them, whether it's a school, a neighborhood, or a small business. This nuts-and-bolts guide provides all the necessary information for planning a network, getting the necessary components, and understanding protocols that you need to design and implement your network. The wireless Internet infrastructure, also known as Wi-Fi, is based on the 802.11b standard.The book covers Rob's experience with the Sebastopol Community Network (NoCAT), a multi-tiered network that provides wireless access for O'Reilly employees and free Web browsing to anyone in the area who has a Wi-Fi card in his or her computer. He describes his experience in using 802.11b, selecting the appropriate equipment, finding antenna sites, and coping with the general problems of outdoor networking.Building Wireless Community Networks starts off with basic wireless concepts and essential network services, while later chapters focus on specific aspects of building your own wireless networks. The final chapter is a detailed journal of Rob's experiences in building his first community network. He begins with his first attempts at using a wireless card at a conference, covers the real-life experience of trying something new, and ends with notes from the Portland Summit, a national gathering of wireless aficionados.If you want to join the grassroots effort to build freely available wireless Internet infrastructures in your community, this book is invaluable.

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Building Wireless Community Networks Review

By Donald W. Larson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Building Wireless Community Networks:

Building Wireless Community Networks

Paperback, First Edition, January 2002, 138 pages

By Rob Flickenger

© Copyright 2002 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

ISBN 0-596-00204-1

Review written March 3, 2002

By Donald W. Larson, O'Reilly Book Evangelist

Web Site:

Anyone who wants to learn about the usage of WiFi, more commonly known as 802.11b wireless should order this book now and read it immediately upon delivery!

Each and every chapter explains is sufficient detail what the new standard is, how to use it and extend the range legally for broadcasts. Anytime someone points out through the purchase of a can of Pringles and then turns that chip container into a radio antenna (with about $10.00 in additional parts) to increase the effective range of WiFi, is a signal (pun intended) that value pricing is just a few steps away.

Rob demonstrates his mastery of the following topics, the understanding of topological maps, db signal loss over distance, firewalls, NAT, and routing as they pertain to WiFi. For those readers who just want to hook up a wireless 802.11b router and configure their network, this book covers that very well.

The book's scope covers the Apple AirPort Base Station and also Linux networks. Also the need for channel separation and bridging of networks for roaming purposes is described.

Then there is the section on the types of external antennas and how to build one from the earlier mentioned Pringles can.

Obviously, wireless brings a whole new set of questions to the security aspect of wireless networks. Rob explains some techniques that should help and provides urls to other community efforts to help find additional resources and support. See NoCat as an example of the latter.


This part of the book includes a section on calculating the loss of signal strength over distances from 0.5 to 20.0 miles! Also provides links to community wireless sites and FCC Part 15 Rules governing the spectrum that 802.11b occupies.



Complete and adequate.

General Book Comments

It is my opinion that many neighborhoods could employ the suggested solutions and bypass the big telco's and ISP's to bring unrestricted Internet access to small neighborhood WAN's at a cost lower or equal to what cable and DSL providers offer.

Rob has done an excellent job in presenting this new technology. He takes the time to explain technical details in ways easy for the reader to understand.

Rating 10 out of 10. This rating is my own personal value system and as such is very subjective. I think a rating of 5 means I would read finish reading a book. A rating of 10 would indicate I had trouble putting a book down and have no complaints at all about it.

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