Despite the dubiously provocative title, this book in essence, is a practical guide to the wireless frontier of telecommunications. The term `hacking' is often perceived as a negative act, while the term `hacker' in the computer tech realm is heeded as a compliment--tinctured with hues of creativity and technical prowess (to infiltrate network systems). The term `hack' in this book, refers to something entirely different. It's defined as a "quick-n-dirty" means of getting to the core of a technological problem; or a resourceful and unconventional way of accomplishing a task.
This book offers a panoramic view of the wireless landscape in practical and easily digestible terms. The background and evolution of wireless technology is brought into focus, with wide-lens coverage on existing wireless standards that define the Wi-Fi revolution today--the 802.11b and 802.11g protocols, their antecedents, as well as latter counterparts that have yet to pervade the mainstream. The characteristics of each protocol (frequency bands on which it operates, data speed capacity, etc.) along with their real-world applications, virtues and limitations, provide the reader greater understanding. These inherent strengths and weaknesses, when framed into context, empowers the consumer to make an informed decision on a wireless format best suited to his needs. A panoply of wireless devices and concepts (e.g. Bluetooth technology, mobile phone carrier networks, etc.) are also highlighted. And wireless-oriented acronyms (e.g. TDMA, CDMA, GSM, etc.) that obscure the telecommunications domain are effectively elucidated.
Each chapter stands on its own--laid out with a specific subject matter--so that page-by-page reading is not necessary for comprehension. Chapter 5 ("Do-It-Yourself Antennas") presents tried-and-true, home-spun devices for extending wireless network range, while Chapter 7 deals with wireless security--offering tips for recognizing network holes and providing suggestions on securing a network.
While valuable troubleshooting tips are plentiful, much of this book is dedicated to specific wireless schemes (or "hacks") for achieving optimal wireless network efficiency. Leaving no computer user behind, each "hack" is delineated in various Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. And each hack is rated in terms of difficulty: beginner, moderate and expert. An expert-level hack might be entitled, "Photo Blog Automatically with the Nokia 3650", which instructs users on photo publishing from the road, without having to log on to a computer.
Practical and sometimes unconventional tools are provided for implementing and enabling wireless technology in a home environment and elsewhere. One segment provides beginner-level, step-by-step instructions on how to turn your laptop into a spectrum analyzer (without installing any additional software) for the purpose of locating all wireless networks within range.
In its entirety, this book is concisely laid out for ease of comprehension. The technologies that have come to define the wireless revolution are illuminated and relative strengths and weaknesses of various network standards are highlighted. Resources for optimizing networking hardware are provided--from extending range and intensifying data throughput, to managing and exploiting valuable wireless resources--in creative and non-traditional ways. Riveting in content, it brings into focus the intensely dynamic pace of wireless evolution, while effectively familiarizing the reader with the infinite bounties of telecomm's wireless dimension.