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An Access Point runs BSS to serve clients. They allow the connection of wireless clients to a wired network.

At its simplest, an Access Point is a box with a connector for a wired network, and an antenna to transmit and receive a wireless network. Most APs have capabilities beyond this however. APs are able to accept connections from between roughly ten to one hundred Clients simultaneously, depending on the APs specifications, and the prevailing RFEnvironment

Commercial access points tend to come in two flavours:

The Linux HostAP driver allows a wireless Client Card to emulate an Access Point. This has certain advantages in some situations as it gives more hardware and software options having an Access Point inside a PC.

There's also the OpenAP project (and also AirportLinux) that convert a commercial AccessPoint to run Linux, or you can use a generic PC Unix and External linkconfigure it appropriately (although at this stage, it does not actually support BSS mode operation).
Also there is a External linkWindows hack to enable BSS mode for some hardware.

All access points act as an 802.x Bridge, exchanging frames between the wireless and wired LANs.

Example access points are

BSS Mode is also known by the following names:
While these names mean different things depending on whether you want your device to act as a Client or Access Point, they are all covered by the Basic Service Set.

Some newer Access Points can do more modes than the standard Basic Service Set. Some can act as wireless clients themselves - ie they can connect as Clients to other APs. They can do Bridging mode to form a wireless point-to-point or point-to-multipoint link between two or more segments of a wired network. Some, specifically the minitar can even emulate IBSS or Ad-Hoc Mode. Since these modes are not covered by the BSS these modes sometimes have problems when using APs from different manufacturers. External linkRob Clark has done some External linktests involving the minitar AP and its various modes.

Version 4 (current) modified Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:11:51 +1000 by Dan
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