Author Interview with Matthew Gast
What made you write the book?
When I first started writing about 802.11, wireless networks were cool and promising. The first time I held a Wi-Fi LAN party, the equipment cost several thousand dollars, and we all needed to spend time installing the right software and drivers. Fast forward a decade, and 802.11n has come along. Wi-Fi has grown up. Every computing device you want to interact with just has Wi-Fi built in‚ and some devices, like the iPad, don't even give you the option not to use it. In the middle of the '00s, I would talk about Wi-Fi and say that everybody was going to have two Wi-Fi devices: A laptop and a phone. I was wrong. It's a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and maybe another device or two. Supporting all these devices requires a fast network, and right now, that means 802.11n.
Why is your book especially important now?
It's only a slight joke to say that there are only two kinds of users. There are those who have iPads, and there are those who want them. Building a robust network to support tablet computing and its rich interactive experience blending text, audio, and video is a challenge. This book teaches you how to do that.
What is the single most important thing readers will be able to do after reading your book?
Readers will understand the trade-offs involved in building a large-scale wireless network, and how 802.11n's protocol features help them build the network they want.
What do you think is on the horizon for your readers?
Wireless LANs touch everything in networking. A key enabler of the mobile computing revolution is that small devices can access data and applications stored elsewhere on the network. Providing a solid network connection is the first step towards enabling any network service, whether it is hosted applications, videoconferencing and screen sharing, or electronic learning.