Modes of Wireless Connectivity

The transition from wired networks to wireless networks is very much evident in past 2-3 years. Advanced wireless networks are used to run Offices, Schools, Colleges and many more places.
Connections to these wireless networks are usually maintained by a Network Interface Card (NIC) or Network adapters. A wireless network adapter is a device that helps us to connect to wireless networks. It acts as a mediator between the server or other computers and our machine, which helps in sending and receiving files. Also, every computer or machine in a network is known as a Node.

It is imperative to understand the different modes in which these network adapters can work and wireless connections can be made. Hence, choose the right mode for yourself, your home or your company.

Wireless Connections basically are of 4 types :



  1. Ad-Hoc mode : In Ad-Hoc mode, the nodes are connected to each other without the presence of any Base Station or Access Point. The nodes can communicate directly with each other and also share resources without the presence of any external medium (router etc.), provided they are connected on the same network and on the same channel.
  2. Managed mode : In Managed mode every node is connected to an Access Point or Base Station (router etc.) and it only receives the data which is sent to it by the AP. To connect to a network in managed mode the node automatically changes its channel according to the AP.
    For example, suppose there is a wifi router and 5 computers are connected to it. Now, the wifi router will send data packets which contains the destination address in the network and the node receives a data packet only if it has its address.
  3. Master mode : In the Master mode, a node acts as an access point and other nodes can connect to it. It may provide same functionality as that of a router. It is basically like a wifi hotspot in which the main node can share internet and resources individually with the nodes connected to it.
  4. Monitor mode : In Monitor mode, the node is not connected to any AP or any node but it has the capability to monitor all the data packets travelling in the wireless medium on a given channel in its range. It is not meant for usual day to day communications.

The usual network cards in laptops and computers come with a default Managed mode. Also, they are not powerful enough to support monitor mode. They can be used in master mode by creating a wifi hotspot or they can be used in Ad-Hoc mode.



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