This page talks about
software that can be used to help setup, configure, and diagnose HSMM networks.
I will also briefly talk about applications to run on the network
once it is in place.
Probably the most important piece of software you
will need will be the drivers and utilities that are provided with your
RIC (Radio Interface Card). The driver is the software that allows
your operating system to talk to the RIC. The driver may have the
ability to set the SSID, Channel, and other parameters for your RIC. The
manufacturer usually provides a separate utility to set the SSID, Channel
number, WEP encryption, and other parameters. These utilities usually
include signal strength meters, link test programs, and other configuration
and testing tools.
Intel's WLAN monitor.
This is a utility that came with my Intel 2011 wireless
PCMCIA card. It allows me to set my SSID (ESSID is what they call
it), Operating mode, and channel number. Operating mode is either access
point mode (as shown), or ad hoc mode. Ad hoc mode is RIC to RIC communication.
Notice that my channel number is grayed out (cannot be changed). This
is because the access point sets the channel number.
Please note the "Power Mode" tab. This is a
screen that allows us to control the power output of the transmitter. The
IEEE 802.11b standard says that the device must be able to automatically
lower power if it is not needed. My "Power Mode" is currently set to
Applications can be run on the network once you have connected
and loaded a protocol. TCP/IP is the protocol we have used to test
applications. This is an important distinction. You must connect
to a stations hardware first. This means using your driver software
like the Intel software shown above. Once you have connected the radios
the driver software will tell you. In ad-hoc mode it will usually show
the MAC address of the other station. A MAC address is a hard coded
address built into every Ethernet device. This does not mean it is
made by the apple computer corporation.
Once you are sure that you have a radio connection you
must make sure that your protocol is configured to enable communication between
stations. Describing the details of TCP/IP networking is far beyond
the scope of this document. A good thing to keep in mind is to make
stations IP addressed similar in order to allow them to connect. Ping
is a ubiquitous utility to verify the connection to another station on a
network. After making sure that your hardware is connected use this
utility to test the configuration of TCP/IP before running higher level applications.
High level applications can be any program that runs on
a network that provides an end user function. Microsoft Netmeeting
is a great example. This allows voice and video conferencing on a TCP/IP
network. Perfect for Amateur radio operators. Several voice only
applications run on TCP/IP networks. Roger Wilco is a voice over IP
application designed for computer gamers so that they can converse while
playing online. You can download a demo of this application from their
website. Other voice over IP applications can be downloaded free of
charge. Microsoft's game voice 1.5 is a voice over IP application that
uses minimum bandwidth.