• Hi guys/girls. Like most wireless guys with an IP/networking background, my RF skills are poor. I would like to address this and understand more about how RF works, how information is modulated, etc. I want to start from the absolute basics on RF and build up. Do you know of any good online sites or books I could buy? I have searched google and lots come up but nothing jumps out at me for what im looking for. I have most of the CWNP books, but most do not cover RF in great detail


  • By Howard - edited: April 7, 2016

    Do you mean RF from strictly an RF point of view, or one that also discusses the various modulations.?
    If you mean the latter, I would highly recommend 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition.  , by Matthew Gast.

    That book is also a prequel to another of his books, 802.11n A Survival Guide, which is a good book.  In fact, he has so many references to the first one in it that you need it to cover the basics.

    Just an RF book?    I don't really know.   Maybe a Radar or Satellite book.    

  • Thanks Wlanman, I've just ordered '802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition' so look forward to reading it.

    Ill let you know what I think of it!


  • You're welcome.

    Yes, please let us know.  

  • By DavidCA - edited: July 14, 2015

    Check out and look for the book called Basic Radio

  • Has anyone read A Guide to the Wireless Engineering Body of Knowledge (WEBOK). 

    I have read some of it on google books and it is fairly hard core (and hard going).


  • In electrical engineering school, we barely touched on RF or antenna theory.  So I knew very little.  But a few years ago, I decided to try an obtain three radio licenses (Ham, GROL, and GMDSS) which took about six months (the tests are published online as well as the answers--so you could ace the exams by pure memory--but then, what's the point?). So I considered this a chance to dive into the subject (online material is voluminous) and learn the subject forwards and backwards and the upshot was, I finally "got it" and the RF sections are now a snap (as for the rest of the 802.11--not so much).  There are also online websites that test your knowledge

    Of course, obtaining this is time consuming and don't result in a slew of job offers, but having the licenses has open up doors for me in other areas because I have that knowledge.  YMMV, of course.

    I'm another one who seconds the idea of purchasing all three of the Gast books (as mentioned above 802.11 Wireless Networks as well as the 802.11n & 802.11ac Survival Guides) as a way of getting in depth with the material and help crystallize the material you learn about in the Study Guides. It's my go to reference when the guides are a little obtuse.

  • You may also look for a used college Physics textbook, I imagine if you get a few editions back you could find one for almost free.

  • Depending on your specific interests is a good book for background material.  The book has a good website that gives different levels of answer from hints to full answers for the exercises. 

    What websites are you using to test your knowledge of RF?  Something like is one option to but I would be interested to hear about different options for online tests.

    Thanks for the advice on the Gast book for 802.11n.  I have a book on 802.11ac, but think the one on 802.11n would be good to add as the test emphasis seems to be more on 802.11n right now.

  • I agree with User Hostile on some other licenses that discuss RF in depth. I was a General class Amateur Radio operator a couple years before ever I got interested in 802.11. One thing about HAMs, they like to talk! Join the forums, ask questions, get licensed and join a club if you want to.These experienced HAMs know how to make an antenna resonant at just the right frequency, then how to set it up to bounce a signal to wherever they please, be it around the world, or shoot it near straight up and come back down a short distance away, like 75 miles or so. Lookup NVIS if you are curious.

    When you play with antennas, tweaking them out for whatever use you plan for it, learning about RF fundamentals is a must, and quite fun too! When I first studied for the CWNA and got to the RF portions, I was happy to know that I knew that section well, hehe.

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