IEEE 802.11

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IEEE 802.11 is a set of standards carrying out wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication in the 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz frequency bands. They are created and maintained by the IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802). The base current version of the standard is IEEE 802.11-2007.

Contents

General description

The 802.11 family includes over-the-air modulation techniques that use the same basic protocol. The most popular are those defined by the 802.11b and 802.11g protocols, which are amendments to the original standard. 802.11-1997 was the first wireless networking standard, but 802.11b was the first widely accepted one, followed by 802.11g and 802.11n. Security was originally purposefully weak due to export requirements of some governments,[1] and was later enhanced via the 802.11i amendment after governmental and legislative changes. 802.11n is a new multi-streaming modulation technique. Other standards in the family (c–f, h, j) are service amendments and extensions or corrections to the previous specifications.

802.11b and 802.11g use the 2.4 GHz ISM band, operating in the United States under Part 15 of the US Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations. Because of this choice of frequency band, 802.11b and g equipment may occasionally suffer interference from microwave ovens, cordless telephones and Bluetooth devices. 802.11b and 802.11g control their interference and susceptibility to interference by using direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) signaling methods, respectively. 802.11a uses the 5 GHz U-NII band, which, for much of the world, offers at least 19 non-overlapping channels rather than the 3 offered in the 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band.[2] Better or worse performance with higher or lower frequencies (channels) may be realized, depending on the environment.

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