The whole idea of WDAL originally got started because I just wanted a way to transfer files between upstairs and downstairs without having to drill a bunch of holes in our 1959 house or having to copy everything to disc. I was reading about wireless networks one day when I learned of a Linux driver that puts certain wireless cards into "broadcast" mode. Meaning, they can act like a separate hardware access point. Other wireless clients would connect directly to it. Cool!
So why, you ask, didn't I just buy a $50 hardware AP? Well, I have always been a little curious, and I like to figure out how things work. Plus, when it comes to hardware, I am a bit of a cheapskate! Besides, I thought it might be fun and interesting to figure out how to set the thing up on my own. And it was fun, if a little frustrating at times. But there are actually some real advantages to converting an old or unused machine into a wireless access point, rather than simply buying a boxed off-the-shelf variety: