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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real)
 9  Chapter 15: Wireless LANs

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Wireless Technologies
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Putting Your WLAN Together
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Regulatory Bodies

In the wireless world, it is important to remember who governs what. There are several governing bodies, so it can be confusing to remember whose rules to follow. These are the basics about who does what.

IEEE – This is the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. It is based in the US, and the IEEE is responsible for setting the standards for data transmission. The IEEE created the 802.11 standard for wireless communications. The initial 802.11 standard was slow, only allowing for 1Mbps or 2Mbps data rates. The frequency for the original 802.11 was 2.4 GHz. With the creation of 802.11b, still within the 2.4 GHz range, data rages increase dramatically, allowing for up to 11Mbps.

Now we also have an 802.11g Standard, which is within the 2.4 GHz frequency, allowing up to 54 Mbps of data transfer and the latest, 802.11a, which transmits at 5 GHz and allows for data rates up to 54 Mbps.

Data Transmission Rates

When talking data transmission rates, it is important to remember that data rates in real life do not actually occur at those speeds, but more like half that speed. Wireless devices are half-duplex, meaning they are either transmitting or receiving at any given time, never both.


FCC – Federal Communications Commission is the USA’s agency that has made the creation of WLANs possible by allowing the public to use certain frequency bands. The FCC is responsible for controlling all transmission bands, thus preventing interference with other wireless devices, like cell phones. The FCC also regulates power output for wireless devices.

Wi-Fi Alliance – The Wi-Fi Alliance was created in 1999 to certify interoperability of WLAN products. They also certify devices and WLAN tools “Wi-Fi Safe” meaning that if this particular organization has certified the device it complies with 802.11a or 802.11b standards and will cooperate with all other such certified devices. You can find a list of all certified hardware at their website - http://www.wi-fi.org

WLANA – The Wireless LAN Association. This is not really a governing body, but an organization created to help promote WLANs and provide education and information. You can visit them at http://www.wlana.org


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Wireless Technologies
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Putting Your WLAN Together
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