Wireless base stations can work in three different modes: root, repeater and bridge.
Root mode – This is the most common mode type, where several users use the access point at the same time as a hotspot. In rooted mode, users with laptops or PDAs can access the Internet to watch videos of Torino games or just check their email. As a side note, there is a difference between a mobile user and a roaming user. The mobile user stays connected to one wireless base station. A roaming user moves from one base station cell to another base station cell. I highlight this because of the extra load on the base station.
I repeated – Repeater mode is used when you want to expand the signal beyond the current limits. You need to place the repeater base station in the area of your current main base station. It needs to be close enough to the main base station that the repeater plays a strong signal, not a weak signal. If you end up playing a weak signal, you won’t be able to watch the Torino Olympics.
Bridge – Bridging works as a wireless cable. Two base stations in bridge mode only talk to each other, other clients cannot use them. Bridging is useful when connecting two buildings or large temporary sites when laying wire is not cost effective.
To set a wireless bridge you have two base stations and two directional antennas. Depending on the distance, you use voltmeters or the manufacturer’s software to align the support points. Before you do this, you need to enter the MAC address of each access point so they know who to align with.
Installation of antennas right is one of the most important things. If you install the antenna on the roof, make sure that it is connected with a pin. Note that wind is a factor in antenna alignment. You could give a good signal on a non-windy day and no signal on a windy/snowy day. The right wind rated antenna and the right tower or mounting brackets are key to making a bridge.
So when you buy a wireless access point you are actually buying three types of wireless connections: Root / Hot spot, which is used to connect several mobile clients at once, a repeater, which is used to extend the signal of another base station. The last mode we talked about was wireless bridging, which is another way of saying wireless wire.
One of the cheapest yet most reliable wireless access points I’ve used is linksys WAP54g. I have installed this in homes, small offices and schools. They can be accessed by 15-20 people at a time and they hardly ever break down. The WAP54g includes all the latest security features, including WPA2 with AES encryption. If you are new to installing wireless access points, you can also take advantage of linksys kickass technical support.