A simple home wireless LAN
- Protects the home network from outside intruders
- Allows the sharing of a single Internet IP address from an ISP (Internet Service Provider)
- Provides Wired Ethernet service for typically 4 computers but can also be expanded with another Ethernet Switch or Hub
- Serves as a Wireless Access Point for multiple wireless computers
These devices come from a variety of manufacturers such as Linksys (Cisco), D-Link, Netgear, SMC, Belkin, and other companies. Basic models can be purchased for as little as $30 and high-end models can be more than $150. The basic models typically have a single Wi-Fi radio offering 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g operation while the higher end models will offer dual-band Wi-Fi radios or high-speed MIMO capability. Dual-band Access Points have two radios which provide 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g and 5.3 GHz 802.11a capability while MIMO Access Points use multiple radios to boost performance in the 2.4 GHz range. Dual-band Access Points are essentially two Access Points in one and can serve two non-interfering frequencies at the same time while the newer MIMO devices boost speed in the 2.4 GHz range along with superior range. Unfortunately, the 2.4 GHz range is often congested and manufacturers have stayed away from dual-band MIMO devices because of cost concerns since they're already the most expensive to begin with. Dual-band devices don't have the highest performance or range, but allow you to operate in the relatively uncongested 5.3 GHz range and allow two devices to operate at full speed simultaneously if they are in different bands.
Another example of a simple home wireless LAN
Another example of wireless bridging
A medium-size wireless LAN
A large-scale enterprise switched wireless LAN
Another example of a simple home wireless LANThis is a less common example of a home network where the Wireless Access Point is a separate device. This topology is more expensive but offers more flexibility. Consolidated router/wireless devices may not offer all the features desired by power users. In this configuration, it's possible for the Access Point to cost more than an equivalent Router and AP in one and that's probably due to the fact that there are fewer sold since most people prefer the combined functionality. Some people require higher end routers and switches that have features such as bandwidth throttling and gigabit Ethernet and having a modular design allows them the flexibility they need.
More detailed information on building a home network can be found here.