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For success designing and implementing Cisco Wireless solutions, a CCNA Wireless student needs to be familiar with the options for various wireless topologies. Two were defined by the 802.11 committees, while others were made possible thanks to excellent developments by wireless vendors like Cisco Systems.

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The 802.11 Topologies

Ad Hoc Mode

While not popular, it is possible to have wireless devices communicate directly with no central device managing the communications. This is called the Ad Hoc network topology and is one of the two topologies defined by the 802.11 committees. In the Ad Hoc type topology, one device sets a group name and radio parameters, and another device uses this information to connect to the wireless network.

This type of wireless network topology is referred to as an Independent Basic Service Set (IBSS). This is easy to remember as we know the devices are working independently of an access point (AP).

Network Infrastructure Mode

When an access point is used to create the network, the official term is network infrastructure mode for the network. There is a Basic Service Set (BSS) setup that uses a single access point, or the Extended Service Set (ESS) that uses multiple access points in order to extend the reach of the wireless network.

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