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Part: VI Appendixes > Understanding 802.11 Wireless Standards

Understanding 802.11 Wireless Standards

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Standards Association, http://standards.ieee.org/, likes to designate standards using numbers rather than names. Within the IEEE schema, the number 802 is used to designate local area networks and metropolitan, or wide area, networks (LANs and WANs). 802.11 is the name for wireless LAN specifications in general. There are a number of different flavors of the 802.11 standards, such as 802.11b, 802.11g, and so on, that I'll discuss later in this appendix in more detail. Each of these particular versions of the wireless LAN specification (802.11) run on the 2.4GHz or the 5GHz spectrums at high speeds.

To comprehend 802.11, it's important to understand the purpose of the general wireless LAN standard. According to the original Project Authorization Request, “the scope of the proposed standard is to develop a specification for wireless connectivity for fixed, portable, and moving stations within a local area.” In addition, “...the purpose of the standard is to provide wireless connectivity to automatic machinery and equipment or stations that require rapid deployment, which may be portable, handheld, or which may be mounted on moving vehicles within a local area.”


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