What Are 802.11 IEEE Wireless LAN Standards?

Wireless communication has become an integral part of our daily lives. One cannot imagine a day without the internet, and to make this possible, various wireless standards come into play. These standards play a critical role in defining the capabilities and performance of a wireless network.

What are WLAN standards?

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) standards, often referred to as “wifi standards,” lay the groundwork for all wireless networking technologies. These standards ensure that wireless devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other. They define the operational details of the radio frequency technology used for wireless communication.

What does IEEE 802.11 mean?

IEEE 802.11 is one such wireless standard, developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This standard is often referred to simply as “802.11”, “network standard” or “wifi protocol”.

The term “802.11” refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN technology. These specifications define the physical layer (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layer protocols used in wireless communication.

What are the different 802.11 standards?

Here’s a brief overview of some of the key 802.11 standards:


The original 802.11 standard, released in 1997, laid the foundation for wireless networking, delivering a maximum bandwidth of 2 Mbps and operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency band.


This was the first major revision to the original standard, providing a maximum speed of 54 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.


Operates in the 2.4 GHz band and offers a maximum speed of 11 Mbps.


Merges the best of 802.11a and b, offering speeds up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.

802.11n (Wifi 4)

Introduced MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology, which significantly increased the speed and range. It operates on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

802.11ac (Wifi 5)

Also known as “Gigabit Wifi,” it offers improved speeds, especially on the 5 GHz band.

802.11ax (Wifi 6)

The latest standard that promises even better performance, improved efficiency, and support for more devices.

To understand these variations better, one can refer to a wifi standards chart that illustrates the differences in speed, frequency, and range.

The future of 802.11 standards and wireless communication

Understanding 802.11 IEEE wireless LAN standards is crucial to comprehend the capabilities of our wireless networks. As wifi technology continues to evolve, we can expect the introduction of more standards that will further enhance our wireless communication experience. These standards will continue to govern how our devices connect to the internet, thereby shaping the future of wireless communication.

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