A Guide to the Wireless Standards

The 802.11 Alphabet


The IEEE 802.11 standards are at the center of the wireless revolution. The wireless alphabet starts with 802.11a and extends to 802.11n. Linux Magazine helps you get your wireless spelling right.

Networking is in, and wires are out. But owners of WLAN-capable laptops are not the only ones who prefer to do without wires. Many households need to connect more than one computer to the Internet; and consumer electronics devices such as stereos or personal video recorders rely increasingly on LAN connectivity. Wireless connectivity is preferable of course, unless you really want to lay network cable across your living room carpet. This trend for wireless is reflected by skyrocketing sales in wireless network equipment. Business is booming for WLAN chip and device manufacturers. In Europe alone, wireless turnover is expected to hit the magical billion dollar mark by 2007. This trend is good for customers, too, as increasing quantities mean rapidly falling prices for WLAN equipment.