Wireless network software comes in many flavors and designs. The closest to the user is the software which consists of the user interface. The front end is simple and used to provide connectivity to the network. With extensive use of laptops wireless networking has now become a dire necessity and a must have rather than a mere status symbol. Connection to the ubiquitous internet through mobile networks is a common feature of most laptops. Connectivity may be quite a simple job for the end user but requires a huge amount of infrastructure held together by the glue of wireless network software.
At a deeper level wireless network software consists of the drivers and system software which are required for the wireless network interface card. It is but obvious that each hardware vendor has his own set of software to suit his respective hardware. The end user has no inkling of this software and neither is there any need for him to know about it. Actually once the drivers are installed there is a seamless connection within the network and requires no human interference. Cisco is a popular manufacturer of wireless LAN equipment .
In large wireless installations reliability and availability of hardware is an important or even a critical requirement. Service providers therefore tend to prefer tried and tested hardware for their networks. Moreover incompatibility among different hardware components may cripple networks. Software drivers may be a small part of the process but they sometimes may make or break a network engineers day. It is not unknown for network specialists to struggle for days to establish a wireless network only to realize that they have the wrong version of the network drivers. This kind of mishap can make an engineer wary of products which are not tried and tested.
Wireless network software is required to provide the bridge between wired and wireless networks. The operation of a WLAN should be seamless in either of the networks. This bridge software provides this connectivity.
The most important variety of wireless network software is the one dealing with wireless security. It is an open secret that most of the vulnerabilities in any network occur in the wireless portion of the network. It is often a joke that the rogue virus makers have shifted their loyalties from the Microsoft operating system to wireless network software. This is because it is simply too tempting to break into networks with ease. Since somewhere the wireless network meets the wired LAN , an attack through the vulnerable part exposes the entire network. Extra caution is therefore required in securing the wireless network. First and foremost requirement is the control over access to the wireless network. Providing unauthorized and casual access is a dangerous proposition.