The FCC (Federal Communications Commission, http://www.fcc.gov/) is a US regulatory body responsible for governing inter-state communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, http://www.ieee.org/) is an international body that specifies industry standards for power, consumer electronics, and computers, including computer communications.
The ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute, http://www.etsi.org/) is a European body that specifies standards used by telecommunications networks operating within 56 European countries.
What's the difference, and what do these organizations have to do with wireless LANs? The IEEE defines standards like 802.11b that WLAN vendors implement worldwide. The FCC defines rules about radio use in the US; for example, 802.11b WLANs can be operated without a license in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. ETSI defines standards like ETSI Broadband Radio Access Networks (BRAN) and HIPERLAN implemented in products sold primarily within Europe.
ETSI and IEEE are collaborating to harmonize BRAN and 802.11a standards because both operate in the 5 GHz band. To learn more, see http://portal.etsi.org/bran/Summary.asp.
This was first published in July 2003