Building Wireless Community Networks 2/e

By | April 5, 2004

Nowadays, with Wireless enabled computers almost as common as Ethernet, it makes sense to more people and organizations to make the next step and connect their networks using wireless technology. If you or your community is planning to get online using wireless network technology, Flickenger’s book “Building Wireless Community Networks” is exactly where you need to start.

Author: Rob Flickenger

Pages: 182

Publisher: O´Reilly & Associates

ISBN: 0596005024

Available for download sample chapter number 3 – “Network Layout”.

About the author

Rob Flickenger has been hacking as long as he can remember. He is the author of two other books: Linux Server Hacks and Building Wireless Community Networks 2/e. He is currently working on prompting community wireless networking through efforts like NoCat ( and Seattle Wireless (

The Book

The opening chapters of the book introduce the reader to the basic wireless concepts and essential wireless services, which are relevant to the subject of the book. Later chapters focus on specific aspects of building, owning and maintaining a wireless network.

The book is organized in a way that allows experienced reader to skip around rather than reading chapter by chapter.

As stated above, the first three chapters provide the intro to wireless concepts.

The first chapter describes the idea and the history behind wireless connectivity and the problems it raises.

Chapter two provides brief information on the 802.11 family, wireless network design considerations, hardware components, physical properties of radio signals and 802.11b channel overlapping.

Next, the author provides a detailed description of critical network components and services and talks about security considerations such as encryption, authentication, firewalls and tunnels.

In the next chapter, Flickenger deals with wireless access points and particularly focuses on the popular Apple AirPort. In this chapter, the readers learn how to tweak their own access point from Linux, how to configure an access point to act as a transparent bridge to a wired network and other various things.

In continuation to chapter four, Wireless access points, in chapter five, the author gives a good introduction on how to turn an old computer to a wireless access point and setup DHCP and masquerading services.

Chapters six through nine provide a wealth of information on various exotic – the term used by Flickenger – 802.11b applications, repeaters, antennas, cables, the correct placement of antennas and a nice guide with instructions and photos that explains how to make your own antenna. In the question of authentication, the author provides a partial answer in the form of introduction to NoCatAuth authentication system.

My Opinion

The combination of Rob Flickenger’s enthusiasm on the Wireless technology and vast hands-on experience makes this thin but information-dense book essential to anyone who’s looking for his ticket into wireless-based networks, no matter if he is an experienced or a newbie user.

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