The following content is being provided for informational purposes to familiarize end-users with basic terminology and components of Wi-Fi technology.
Autonomous access point: Stand-alone Wi-Fi hub that allows any computer with a Wi-Fi network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet. This device is typically used in an enterprise or corporate environment with many users.
Ad hoc, peer-to-peer or computer-to-computer network: A communication configuration where every computer has the same capabilities and any computer can initiate a communication session. Also known as a peer-to-peer or computer-to-computer network.
Broadband Wi-Fi router: Stand-alone Wi-Fi hub that allows any computer that has a Wi-Fi network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet. This device is typically used in a home or small-office environment with a relatively small number of users.
Client computer: The computer gets its Internet connection by sharing either the host computer's connection or the AP/router's connection.
Infrastructure network: Wi-Fi network centered around an access point (AP) or broadband Wi-Fi router. In this environment, the AP not only provides communication with the wired network, but also mediates Wi-Fi network traffic in the immediate neighborhood.
Internet service provider (ISP): Subscribers get access to the Internet from their homes, small businesses or corporate networks by paying the ISP for service.
Lightweight access point (LWAP): Scaled-down access point that funnels user authentication and association requests to a central Wi-Fi switch.
Modem: DSL, cable, or other types of hardware connected to both the AP/router and external line leading to an ISP.
Wi-Fi network adapter: A hardware device (embedded in the client or an external PCMCIA card) on client stations consisting of a radio and antenna(s) used for transmitting and receiving Wi-Fi frames. Antennas may also be integrated into the client device itself.
Wi-Fi switch: Control point for a group of lightweight access points (LWAP) or autonomous APs.
This applies to: