Subject: Re: Wireless ethernet advise requested....
To: Brad Spencer <>
From: Andrew Gillham <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/28/2000 23:47:48
Brad Spencer writes:
> However, when reading about access points, they seem to advertise
> themselves as bridges.  Is this term the same as on wired LANs??  Further,

Yes, they are a "store and forward bridge" that is capable of bridging
between wireless and wired networks _and_ wireless end station to wireless
end station. (to effectively double the range)

> a lot of them seem to imply that the occupy an IP address of their own on
> the wired LAN they are connected to.  I would rather not have to give up
> one of my very few IP addresses to such a device, if I could help it.  I
> only have a 4 bits of address space, and there are not a lot to go around.

The ip address is strictly for managing most devices.  Some of them can
potentially route or do NAT (Apple Airport does NAT), but you shouldn't
have to use it.

> Are there access points that act on the ethernet frame level, more like
> repeaters, or act more like a passive bridge, moving packets from one side
> to the other without really getting involved itself??

Well it is a smart bridge, a layer 2 device that learns which side has
which MAC address rather than blinding duplicating every packet between
bridge ports.

> Or am I confused??  Any advise or examples would be welcome....

Only a little confused I think. :-)  The fact that some access points
can be layer 3 devices (e.g. NAT or routing) might be confusing.

If you have, you can assign addresses to wired and wireless
stations and it will Just Work(TM) and you shouldn't have to worry about it.
With less address space (e.g. 4 bits) you just have less addresses available
to assign. :-)

Now to just slightly confuse you, obviously different access points are
going to work differently.  AFAIK every single one supports acting as
a bridge, but you should confirm it.