October 23, 2023 Lazarin Kroni

The 802.11 protocol: Everything you need to know

The 802.11 protocol

The IEEE 802.11 protocol is a set of standards that define the medium access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) protocols for implementing wireless local area networks (WLANs). It is the basis for the Wi-Fi brand and is the most widely used wireless computer networking standard in the world.

The 802.11 protocol is composed of a series of half-duplex over-the-air modulation techniques that use the same basic protocol. The 802.11 protocol family uses carrier-sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA), in which devices listen to a channel for other users (including non-802.11 users) before transmitting each frame (some use the term “packet”, which may be ambiguous: “frame” is more technically correct). 802.11-1997 was the first wireless networking standard in the family, but 802.11b was the first widely accepted one, followed by 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac.

How does the 802.11 protocol work?

The 802.11 protocol works by dividing the radio signal into multiple channels. Each channel can be used by only one device at a time. When a device wants to transmit data, it first listens to a channel to make sure it is free. If the channel is free, the device transmits its data. Other devices on the channel will listen to avoid collisions.

The 802.11 protocol also uses a variety of techniques to improve performance, such as encoding and modulation. Encoding is used to reduce the amount of noise in the transmitted data. Modulation is used to change the way data is transmitted so that it can be received more easily.

What are the different types of 802.11 protocols?

There are different types of 802.11 protocols, each with its own characteristics and performance. The most common 802.11 protocols are:

802.11b: The 802.11b protocol is the oldest 802.11 protocol and has a maximum speed of 11 Mbps. It uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band.
802.11g: The 802.11g protocol is a newer version of the 802.11b protocol and has a maximum speed of 54 Mbps. It uses the same 2.4 GHz frequency band as the 802.11b protocol.
802.11n: The 802.11n protocol is a newer protocol than the 802.11g protocol and has a maximum speed of 600 Mbps. It uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band and the 5 GHz frequency band.
802.11ac: The 802.11ac protocol is the newest 802.11 protocol and has a maximum speed of 6.77 Gbps. It uses the 5 GHz frequency band.
What is the 802.11 protocol used for?

The 802.11 protocol is used to create wireless local area networks (WLANs). WLANs are computer networks that use radio waves to connect to each other. WLANs can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

Internet access
File sharing
Video streaming

Benefits of using the 802.11 protocol

There are many benefits to using the 802.11 protocol, including:

Convenience: WLANs allow users to connect to the internet and other devices without the need for cables.
Flexibility: WLANs can be deployed in a variety of environments, including homes, offices, schools, and public places.
Scalability: WLANs can be scaled to support a large number of users.
Affordability: WLAN equipment is relatively affordable.
Security considerations

When using WLANs, it is important to take security measures to protect your network from unauthorized access