REVIEW - Building Wireless Community Networks


Building Wireless Community Networks


Rob Flickenger



O'Reilly (2003)




Francis Glassborow


August 2003



One of the important characteristics shared by many ACCU members is that they are often technology leaders among their local communities. This means that their range of interests extend way beyond programming and software development. From time to time books cross my desk that cover some part of the wider aspects of technological innovation. This is one such book. It is a short book (indeed the main substance is completed in the first seven chapters, 128 pages) and much of the back matter (final chapters and appendices) is very much US orientated. Not surprising as the author is an experienced broadcast engineer based in the Bay Area of California.

The book centres on using 802.11b based equipment to build local communities sharing facilities including Internet connections. I think that is relatively unimportant because the technology is in a state of rapid evolution. What is important is the way that these lower power wireless technologies can have a profound influence on the way we work and play. It is for that reason that I think this book is worth your attention. It gives you a good overview of the problems based on an expert's practical experience of using what is currently available.

In days gone by we used wires for local connections and wireless for long distance communication. It seems we are close to reversing that process and moving to broadcast wireless for local connectivity and wires (well actually increasingly optical cable) for long distance. Did you notice that 'broadcast' qualification? We also have point-to-point links that work over rather longer distances.

If you want to discover what has already been achieved by enthusiasts this is an excellent little book. If you want to stimulate your imagination or start to prepare for the next decade this book would be a good place to start.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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