"In this article, I'll take you through the process of building
a wireless access point running Linux. I won't cover every last
line of code, every intermediate step, or every detail of hardware;
that would take a book and would be obsolete by the time you read
it. The goal is to show you what kinds of concerns and pitfalls
you'll face should you want to do this. For this piece, we build
the access point to operate as a bridge; simply forwarding packets
between the wireless network and a local ethernet. This allows
wireless devices to simply be turned on and attached using your
existing network--no new configuration, no special routing.
"Maybe I should start with 'Why not to bother.' It's pretty
clear that buying an off-the-shelf device is a lot cheaper than
building a custom box. The hardware that went into this ran me
around $400, and that's not including the possible value of a few
hours of my time. Having said that, there are two good reasons to
build your own wireless access point.
"The first is flexibility and customizability. Want a firewall?
No problem. Custom routing? NAT? All easily managed. Custom
Web-based configuration? Half an hour's work with CGI scripts. You
can add traffic graphing if you like. That off-the-shelf box may
have a special Windows-only configuration tool, so it won't be
possible to ssh in and change your settings. You won't be able to
run your weblog off of the Web server. If there's a problem, you
have to wait for a 'firmware upgrade'--which may or may not address