802.11 Wireless LANs
The 802.11 specification was defined by
the IEEE. This is used as an extension
of Ethernet and is quite flexible in enabling
different kinds of network traffic to
pass over it. It is primarily used for
TCP/IP and also support AppleTalk and
other PC file sharing standards. Disparate
systems such as Intel-based PCs and Macintosh
computers by Apple, can communicate over
802.11b networks. Adapters for PDAs, such
as Palm OS and PocketPC based devices,
are also available.
802.11b facilitates the wireless transmission
of up to a maximum of 11 Mbps of data
at distances ranging from a few feet to
several hundred feet over the standard
2.4 GHz unlicensed band. The coverage
distance depends on line of sight and
the occurrences of unforeseen obstacles
in the path that may hamper transmission
and result in lower data rates.
A typical WLAN has several mobile devices,
such us PDAs, mobile phones and laptop
computers, that access enterprise information
through hardware called Access Points.
Access Points can be connected to the
enterprise resources through a firewall
for added security.
802.11a-transmits 54 Mbps over the 5 GHz
band. This is ideal for large data file
transfers and bandwidth intensive applications
over a limited area. While performance
and throughput are significantly increased,
the transmission range is notably reduced.
802.11g-transmits 22 Mbps - 54 Mbps over
2.4 GHz. This specification is consider
the most popular wireless network platform
for the enterprise, providing data transmission
rates up to 54 Mbps.