I was briefly shown the networking setup for a rural hospital campus. Some of the things I was told or shown are:
- There is an 802.11b signal, broadcast over an omnidirectional antenna on a tower. This network is password-protected. 802.11b was chosen for the sake of longer range, even though its bandwidth is not as great as 802.11g, because the ISP bandwidth isn't huge anyway.
- One individual building I was shown has a directional antenna, pointed at the previously mentioned omnidirectional one. Its coaxial cable is run through a device called the Ubiquiti Bullet.
- Out of the Bullet comes an Ethernet cable, which goes to a consumer-grade router, which (at least in this case) has an open in-building WiFi network.
This kind of networking is way beyond my experience level, such that I don't even know the terminology. I'm curious, though.
- What is the Bullet - what is the name for this type of device?
- I see from its specs that it has a processor and memory. Is it able to join the wide-area encrypted WiFi network and pass an unencrypted connection to the consumer-grade router?
- Why might this kind of setup be chosen? Is it that a laptop WiFi card can't produce a strong enough WiFi signal to join the campus-wide network?
Basically I'm just trying to understand how this setup works and what the pieces do.
Thanks to anyone who will humor the naive questions of a programmer who lacks networking chops.