Definition

802.11

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Mapping your wireless local area network: How to make your WLAN shine
Contributor(s): Matt Kirk

802.11 is an evolving family of specifications for wireless local area networks (WLANs) developed by a working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). There are several specifications in the family and new ones are occasionally added.

All the 802.11 specifications use the Ethernet protocol and Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA) for path sharing. The original modulation used in 802.11 was phase-shift keying (PSK). However, other schemes, such as complementary code keying (CCK), are used in some of the newer specifications. The newer modulation methods provide higher data speed and reduced vulnerability to interference.

The 802.11 specifications are summarized in our IEEE 802 Wireless Standards: Fast Reference.

This was last updated in November 2006

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