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INDEX \ About 802.11

About 802.11


General description

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 implemented by the IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802).

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, and 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 that is still under draft development, but products based on its proprietary pre-draft versions are being sold. Other standards in the family (c-f, h, j) are service amendments and extensions or corrections to previous specifications.




Protocols

The original version of the standard IEEE 802.11 was released in 1997 and clarified in 1999, but is today obsolete. It specified two net bit rates of 1 or 2 megabits per second (Mbit/s), plus forward error correction code. It specifed three alternative physical layer technologies: diffuse infrared operating at 1 Mbit/s; frequency-hopping spread spectrum operating at 1 Mbit/s or 2 Mbit/s; and direct-sequence spread spectrum operating at 1 Mbit/s or 2 Mbit/s. The latter two radio technologies used microwave transmission over the Industrial Scientific Medical frequency band at 2.4 GHz. Some earlier WLAN technologies used lower frequencies, such as the U.S. 900 MHz ISM band.

Legacy 802.11 with direct-sequence spread spectrum was rapidly supplemented and popularized by 802.11b.




Community networks

With the proliferation of cable modems and DSL, there is an ever-increasing market of people who wish to establish small networks in their homes to share their broadband Internet connection.

Many hotspot or free networks frequently allow anyone within range, including passersby outside, to connect to the Internet. There are also efforts by volunteer groups to establish wireless community networks to provide free wireless connectivity to the public.






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