Hybrid wireless-wired networks are to go anywhere and do anything type of networks. They offer the performance that is expected of a wired network where you need it, but also the freedom of a wireless connection where it is required.
How Hybrid Networks Work?
Realistically, most wireless networks are, and have always been, hybrid wired-wireless systems. Why? Because in most cases, a transceiver-equipped PC or other device known as an access point is used and connected to a wired network, such as the telephone network or a wired LAN, which uses some type of standard cabling. This access point can receive and transmit data between the wireless and wired worlds.
In home use, you'll most likely see a mix and match of wired and wireless equipment when it comes to connecting to a modem wired to the phone network or a cable television high-speed Internet service. You'll also see network computers connected directly to a printer without going through a wireless-equipped PC. For either use, a bridge can be installed and connected to both the wireless network and, through regular cabling, the printer, modem or other device connected to a wired network.
Some prefer to have most of their PCs on a wired network, but also connect a laptop computer, or perhaps a computer that is located an inconvenient distance away, through a second, wireless network. In some cases, this is may not be quite so simple. In order to set up a hybrid network, the PCs will need to work with two networks. Multihoming, which is the practice of having more than one NIC per PC, can be a little tricky with older operating systems like Windows 95 and 98.
Summing Up Hybrid Networks
Obviously, hybrid networks have many uses. And, if you have a wireless network, odds are good that you'll go beyond a simple peer-to-peer pure wireless setup and find some way to add a wired interface to the system. However, if you're thinking about running two networks, one wired and one wireless, it may be more complicated. But, the advantage of having roaming where you need it and performance where you need it, may totally outweigh any trouble that may be encountered.