wireless LAN (WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network)

A wireless LAN (or WLAN, for wireless local area network, sometimes referred to as LAWN, for local area wireless network) is one in which a mobile user can connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless (radio) connection. The IEEE 802.11 group of standards specify the technologies for wireless LANs. 802.11 standards use the Ethernet protocol and CSMA/CA (carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance) for path sharing and include an encryption method, the Wired Equivalent Privacy algorithm.

High-bandwidth allocation for wireless will make possible a relatively low-cost wiring of classrooms in the United States. A similar frequency allocation has been made in Europe. Hospitals and businesses are also expected to install wireless LAN systems where existing LANs are not already in place.

Using technology from the Symbionics Networks, Ltd., a wireless LAN adapter can be made to fit on a Personal Computer Memory Card Industry Association (PCMCIA) card for a laptop or notebook computer


This was last updated in November 2010

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