How It Works
Wireless Networking - How it works
802.11(b) and (g) wireless
devices work with two pieces of equipment: a client computer
equipped with a wireless network interface card (WNIC) and an access
point (AP) which serves as the bridge between the WNIC and the wired
Ethernet Local Area Network. The name of the wireless network
accessable to students at Palomar College is "InternetOnly".
Your laptop, if equipped with a wireless card, will scan
and find this network. No login is required, but
many ports are blocked for security reasons. Port
80 is not blocked, so all normal Internet activity can
– Wireless Model
The wireless network card (WNIC) in the client
computer (usually a laptop computer) communicates using radio transmissions with
the Access Points in order to gain access to the wired network. Normal
access range under excellent conditions is 300 feet from any Access Point.
Intervening barriers, like concrete walls with steel reinforcing, can affect
this range. "Roaming” is the term used for movement of the WNIC between AP
service areas. Your WNIC card will automatically work through the Access Point
it finds that has the strongest signal. Bandwidth available to the client
computer, of course, drops with distance from the AP and with any intervening
barriers or with interference from other devices operating in the same Radio
Frequency band, like microwave ovens and mobile phones. Data throughput will
decrease from AP to WNIC from a max possible of 54Mbps to 1Mbps depending on
signal strength. Typical throughput, however, usually never exceeds about half
the possible throughput.
networking at Palomar College
can be used on the following types of laptops:
- All Intel
based PC's running Windows 98, ME, or XP or Vista
running all versions of Mac OS X
- Windows CE
based PC with Windows 98, ME, or Windows XP Professional
or Windows XP Home Edition or any edition of Windows Vista.
iBook, iMac and PowerBooks, or MacBooks.
- Windows CE
devices that support a PCMCIA card.
In order to use wireless networking, you must be in or very near to a
building that has a wireless Access Point. Our Information Services help
desk can provide more details on the location of these access points, but they
include the library (all floors), the student union, and the Natural Sciences
Wireless vs. Wired Access
Wireless access differs from wired access in the following
- wired access is faster and supplies more client bandwidth;
- wired access can, with the proper permissions, give access
to campus computing assets, like file servers and printers, wireless access is
an Internet only service;
- a login is not required with the wireless network.
Do not use wireless access for bandwidth intensive
operations, such as streaming video.