There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
Attributed to C.G. Jung
In the 1990s, computer professionals joined doctors as People With Answers. Just as doctors are asked medical questions by complete strangers, computer professionals are asked a bewildering variety of technical questions by complete strangers. When these strangers learn that I work with networks, I am often asked, "Why does the Internet break so often?" The more I contemplate the question, the more I believe that the question should be, "Why doesn't the Internet break more often?"
While I could never hope to answer either question in a single chapter of a book, it is obvious that network problems are a fact of life. Networks break, and wireless networks are no exception. Wireless LANs can improve productivity, but they also carry a larger risk of complete outage, and the limited bandwidth is almost sure to be overloaded. After building a wireless LAN, network engineers must be ready to investigate any problems that may arise.
As in many other network types, the trusty network analyzer is a key component in the engineer's toolbox. Network analyzers already exist for the wired backbone side of the wireless network and can be used productively in many troubleshooting scenarios. Wireless network troubleshooting depends on having a network analyzer for exactly the same reason. Sometimes, you just need to have a way of seeing what is on the airwaves. This chapter is devoted to tools that allow network engineers to do just that. Several commercial analyzers are available, and there are free tools that run on Linux. Before diving into the tools, though, it may help to consider why wireless network analyzers are a practical requirement for the network administrator.
Introduction to Wireless Networking
Overview of 802.11 Networks
11 MAC Fundamentals
11 Framing in Detail
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
User Authentication with 802.1X
11i: Robust Security Networks, TKIP, and CCMP
Contention-Free Service with the PCF
Physical Layer Overview
The Frequency-Hopping (FH) PHY
The Direct Sequence PHYs: DSSS and HR/DSSS (802.11b)
11a and 802.11j: 5-GHz OFDM PHY
11g: The Extended-Rate PHY (ERP)
A Peek Ahead at 802.11n: MIMO-OFDM
Using 802.11 on Windows
11 on the Macintosh
Using 802.11 on Linux
Using 802.11 Access Points
Logical Wireless Network Architecture
Site Planning and Project Management
11 Network Analysis
11 Performance Tuning
Conclusions and Predictions