The use of domestic WLAN has become a necessity, whether it’s for your laptop, mobile phone, Smart TV or desktop PC. But which WLAN standard do you use? Current versions are 802.11n, 802.11ac or 802.11acx, for example.
Now, the Wi-Fi Alliance wants to make it easier for users to discover the current generation of Wi-Fi. And so they have come up with new names – read on to find out what these are.
WLAN standard – what is it?
WLAN is the abbreviation for Wireless Local Area Network and refers to the wireless network. It is the most popular standard in private households. Wi-Fi was developed in the 90s for the 60 gigahertz range before the technology was transferred to the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz range in 1997. Later, this became the IEEE802.11 standard, which was further developed in several steps. Today there is the WLAN standard 802.11a, b, g, n or ac.
IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It is a worldwide professional association of engineers based in New York. They have numerous defined Internet standards. The name 802 comes from the fact that the definition of standards, which generally describe network access, began in February 1980.
What do the names of the WLAN standard mean?
There are several standards for the WLAN, which have appended different letters in addition to the IEEE and the combination of numbers 802.11. Do you know what the individual letters mean and which WLAN standard you use?
WLAN standard 802.11b
The standard 802.11b theoretically allows data transmission of up to 11 Mbps. In practice, however, the control data usually only achieves about five Mbit / s. This standard is not enough for today’s popular streaming. High-definition television (HDTV) alone requires around 12 to 27.8 Mbps. Nevertheless, the “b” standard is still widely found at public hotspots. The range is up to 20 meters.
The successor to the “b” standard is the WLAN standard 802.11a. It is mainly distributed in the USA. Within Europe, WLAN devices that use the “a” standard may only be used in buildings. The reason: 802.11a radiates in the frequency range of five GHz, which is also used by the military and air traffic control. The range at maximum transmission rate is 15 to 25 meters.
The big brother 802.11g
802.11g is referred to as the big brother of the “b” standard, because it sparks in the same frequency range, but much faster. The maximum transmission speed for 802.11g is 54 Mbps, whereby a maximum distance between transmitter and receiver is 25 to 50 meters.
The WLAN standard 802.11n is still widely used today. The maximum transmission speed is up to 300 Mbit / s. 802.11n can transmit in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands and is backwards compatible with the WLAN standards “b” and “g”.
Standard 802.11ac and others
The IEEE802.11ac standard is a further development of 802.11n. It enables a throughput of up to 867 Mbit / s. With up to eight multiple connections you can get computational data rates of 6936 megabits per second. The “ac” standard only works in the frequency range of 5 GHz.
Meanwhile, there are other WLAN standards. They are named “ad”, “ah”, “ac” or “acx”. Further details about the WLAN standards can be found on Wikipedia.
New name for Wi-Fi standard
The next advancement of the WLAN standard would have got the name 802.11ax. But instead of the cryptic naming, the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that it will simplify the names. The latest standard will be released next year under the name Wi-Fi 6, explains the Wi-Fi Alliance. The 802.11ac and 802.11n standards will be called Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 in the future.
The new names will make it easy for you to see which wireless standard your devices support. Previously, you had to research the product packaging, the bottom of the device, the user guide, or the settings of the device to find the wireless standard. In the future, you will find the small Wi-Fi icons with the corresponding number.
What can Wi-Fi 6 do?
Wi-Fi 6 will be released next year. The benefits: higher data rates, higher capacity, better performance in crowded environments such as concerts and better energy efficiency. You should get faster data transfer with lower battery consumption. In addition, Wi-Fi 6 in smart home environments will bring more power to businesses.
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