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IEEE 802.11 STANDARD

The development of any new technology is part theory and part practice. A key issue in telecommunications is the adoption of technical standards that govern the interoperability of equipment to provide a stable environment for deployment of products and services. This does not mean that all vendor equipment will work in the exact same way. A standard sets a norm or performance expectation on the function of the technology—not its implementation. The standard that governs the wireless LAN industry is the 802.11 family of standards that are part of the group that governs Ethernet data communications. This standard is evolving and adapting to meet the needs of industry as new technology is developed to allow new product design. IEEE 802.11 is comprised of two layers—physical and MAC layers.

802.11 Physical Layer

Like the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and 802.5 token ring standards, the IEEE 802.11 specification addresses both the physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layers. At the PHY layer, IEEE 802.11 defines three physical characteristics for wireless local area networks: diffused infrared, direct sequence spread-spectrum (DSSS), and frequency-hopping spread-spectrum (FHSS).


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