What Equipment Is Needed for a Wireless LAN?

Many people may be interested in setting up their own wireless LAN (Local Area Network) for their home or business. The process is relatively advanced and learning what equipment will be necessary for a wireless LAN is a good first step.

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Wireless LAN Requirements

Determining the type of wireless LAN is dependent on the computers and other electronics that may be used to access the wireless LAN. It is also dependent on whether the LAN is providing access to the Internet.

Wireless Network Adapters

Any computer connecting to a wireless LAN will require a wireless network adapter. This is a hardware component common to most modern laptops, although not all. A wireless adapter can be installed in a desktop computer or a laptop, either internally or externally via a USB connection.

Wireless Switch

A wireless switch is used for communication between multiple computers on a wireless LAN. It is commonly used to connect any wireless network of three or more computers or wireless electronics.

Wireless Router/Switch

A wireless router/switch, commonly called a wireless router, is used for a wireless LAN that connects computers to a shared Internet connection. It is essentially a wireless switch that has routing capabilities built in. This provides a kind of shared gateway to the Internet.


Another common piece of wireless network equipment is known as a repeater. This is essentially a wireless signal amplifier that extends the distance of a wireless LAN. This makes it much easier to expand a network for a larger area later on.

Ad-Hoc Network

There is a way to set up a small wireless LAN between only two computers, using only the wireless network adapters. This is called an ad-hoc network and can be a convenient way to network two computers.