Before proceeding to setting up the ASUS WiFi-b card and making it work, let’s first recall the basic facts about wireless 802.11b-compliant networks. It is 802.11b that has become the first widely-accepted standard for establishing wireless networks. The previous version of this specification, 802.11a, which operates in the 5GHz frequency range, didn’t pass certification in a number of European states. There is also a newer standard, 802.11g, which is currently being developed. It has a higher data-transfer rate – up to 54Mbit/s. Some manufacturers have already started offering devices compliant with this “semi-official” standard.
Wireless 802.11b networks may function in two quite different modes. The first of them is called Ad Hoc. It is used when the network includes two or more computers equipped with Wi-Fi network cards like the ASUS WiFi-b. In this case, the cards are connected according to the “point-to-point” principle (P2P). To create such a network you don’t need anything other than the Wi-Fi cards. The drawback is that all cards in the network share the bandwidth among themselves. Thus, this operational mode is not recommended for networks including too many computers.
The second operational mode of a wireless network is Infrastructure. In this case, the computers in the network communicate with each other via a hub called access point.
The access point may also serve other purposes like an ordinary wired hub and/or router. For example, we used a wireless router, WL-500g from ASUS, in our tests.
This device supports both: the 802.11b protocol and the draft version of 802.11g. It also has a number of auxiliary functions, besides the integrated access point. It features a four-port multiplexer, WAN-port for Internet access, integrated ftp-server, print-server and DHCP server. Other interesting options include a WLAN firewall and web-cam connection. For more details about the device, follow this link to the ASUS website.