Q

Neighboring wireless LANs

Can an office in the same building connect to my wireless LAN if they also have a wireless LAN and are within broadcast range? Stations on a neighboring wireless LAN can accidentally connect to your wireless LAN unless you take appropriate countermeasures, such as unique SSIDs, shared key authentication, and enabling WEP with different keys. But I'm guessing your question is really the inverse: how can you let a neighboring WLAN send...

traffic to your WLAN?

Depending upon what kind of wireless LAN access point you both use, you may be able to configure one AP in repeater mode and the other AP in root mode. The AP in repeater mode acts like a client station to the root AP, relaying traffic to/from stations on the neighboring WLAN. According to the CWNA Study Guide, this configuration isn't very attractive because the footprints of the two APs must overlap considerably (for them to reach each other) and the repeater AP is doing double-duty, which reduces overall performance for that WLAN. Companies that have multiple APs usually enable inter-WLAN traffic by bridging traffic onto a common Ethernet linking root APs instead. In that case, you'd want the APs to have the same SSIDs and WEP keys so that stations can roam freely between them.

This was first published in June 2003

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