This report presents a clear comparison between the products that are available and the kind of usage that is possible with them. While some of the standards are stable and are usable in multiple environments, it is not the same with equipments that comply to a different standard. The report also presents advantages - disadvantages map between the standards that are existing and the reason why there is so many. We have also listed the security issues that plague the usage of WLANs.
Most of the Wireless LAN devices work under IEEE (Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standards. All the standardization started with 802.11 standards released by IEEE. Wireless LAN uses the radio waves for transmitting data from one to the other. It uses different frequencies for transmitting and receiving. The 802.11 laid down the rules for the communication protocol and specified which of the layers in OSI (Open System Interconnection model)23 are modifiable in case of WLAN. This paved way for changes in specific layers in OSI namely, the physical and the data link layers.
In the initial stages of the development, the WLAN supported transmission at 2 MBPS (Mega Bits Per Sec) speed levels. When devices were built under this standard, they could maximum reach only these speeds. However new standards were introduced which goes up to 5.5 MBPS and 11 MBPS, in lieu of the original 1 and 2 MBPS that was achieved earlier. By 1999, it was amended and was expected to support 54 MBPS maximum and they were working at a clock rate of 5GHz. While the first set of standards was called only 802.11, the later ones came to be known as 802.11b and 802.11a. While 'a' is able to operate at a higher frequency, namely, 5 GHz (Giga Hertz), it is able to run it a higher speed than that of 'b'.
WLAN implementations come up in multiple modes of operation. The equipments could be operating on a peer-to-peer mode or ad hoc mode. In this mode, the devices, could be PCs, communicate between them after recognizing each others presence. This is comfortable where one mobile unit has to communicate to another mobile unit over a WLAN. It is single, one-to-one and reasonably fast. No other needs be met under this methodology of operation. The second mode of operation is the common one, that through the Wireless Access Point. These access points connect multiple devices over the wireless network to a networked Ethernet connectivity. On one side the Access Point is a wireless switch and on the other it is Ethernet connectivity. This will help in connecting up like router or a switch multiple terminals to the Ethernet port. Access Points offer more than one technologies.
Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity is one of the most commonly used wireless system in vogue. WiFi is a system that works with RF frequencies going up to 5.2Ghz. This means that we can have distances of up to 2 kilometers covered