Wireless Access Points: 3 Modes for Wireless Access Points

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Wireless access points can function in three different types of modes: root, repeater and bridge.

Root Mode - This is the most common type of mode where multiple users access the access point at once like a hotspot. In root mode users with laptops or PDA's can access the internet to watch videos of the Torino games or just to check email. On a side note, there is a difference between being a mobile user and a roaming user. A mobile user stays connected to one wireless access point. A roaming user moves from access point cell to another access point cell. I point this out because of the extra load on the access point.

Repeater - Repeater mode is used when you want to extend your signal beyond it's current limits. You need to place the repeater access point with in the range of your current root access point. It must be close enough to the root access point so that the repeater is repeating a strong signal not a weak signal. If you end up repeating the weak signal you will not be able to watch the olympic Torino games.

Bridge - Bridging acts as a wireless wire. Two access points in bridge mode will only talk to each other, No other clients will be able to access them. Bridging is useful when connecting two buildings or large temporary locations when laying laying wire isn't cost effective.

To set up a wireless bridge you will have two access points and two directional antennas. Depending on the distance, you will use volt meters or manufacture's software to aim the access points. Prior to doing this you will have to enter the MAC address of each access point so they know who to line up with.

Mounting your antennas properly is one one of the most important things. If you mount your antenna on your roof make sure it is connected to a stud. Take into account that wind is a factor when aligning antennas. You could gave a great signal on a non windy day and no signal on a windy / snowy day. Picking the proper wind rated antenna and proper tower or mounting brackets are the key to bridging.

So when you purchase a wireless access point you are actually purchasing three types of wireless connectivity: Root / Hot spot used to connect multiple mobile clients at once, Repeater which is used to extend the signal of another access point. The last mode we talked about was wireless bridging which is another way saying wirleless wire.

One of the cheapest but most reliable wireless access points I have used is the linksys WAP54g. I have installed this in homes , small offices and schools. 15-20 people can access them at a time and they hardly ever break down. The WAP54g comes with all the latest security features including WPA2 with AES encryption. If you are new to installing wireless access points then you also can take advantage of linksys kickass tech support.

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