802.11 Wireless Standards

Business and home owners who inspires to buy wireless network face the challenge of selecting the best wireless standard from array of choices. Analysis indicated that networking gear mostly conform to the 802.11a, 802.11b/g/n or 802.11ac wireless standard which are collectively referred to as Wi-Fi technologies (Carpenter, 2016). This paper discussed various types of 802.11 wireless standards which include 802.11, 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac.

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            This was the first WLAN standard to be developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (Mitchell, 2017). However, due to its limited network bandwidth of a maximum 2 Mbps, 802.11 is no longer manufactured. This wireless standard was too slow for most of the applications.


            This is the expansion of the 802.11b and was released on July 1999. It supports a bandwidth of up to 11 Mbps which is faster than the traditional Ethernet. 802.11b employ the same unregulated radio signaling frequency 2.4 GHz which was used by 802.11 wireless standard (Berg, 2011). This unregulated signal is prone to interference from home appliance such as microwaves thus costing less.


            This wireless standard has been perceived that it was created after 802.11b, but the truth is that it was created the same time. 802.11b gained popularity because it is cheaper than 802.11a which support up to 54 Mbps bandwidth (Mitchell, 2017). Also, 802.11a employ a regulated signal frequency of around 5 GHz spectrum, which it uses higher frequency than 802.11b. Due to higher frequency signal, 802.11a has a shorter range and more costly.


            This wireless standard is the combination of both 802.11a and 802.11b, which support bandwidth of up to 54 Mbps. 802.11g uses signal frequency of spectrum 2.4 GHz in order to increase the range (Mitchell, 2017). Analysis indicated that 802.11g is described as backward compatible with 802.11b.


            802.11n is also known as Wireless N and was designed to support larger amount of bandwidth through the use of multiple antennas and wireless signals known as MIMO technology (Berg, 2011). It support a bandwidth of up to 300 Mbps and support a wider range because of the increased signal intensity.


            This is the newest Wi-Fi generation which utilizes a dual-band wireless technology on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It support bandwidth of up to 1300 Mbps on signal frequency of a spectrum of 5 GHz and 450 Mbps on signal spectrum of 2.4 GHz.


Based on the description of each wireless standard, the best implementation is the 802.11ac dual-band wireless technology because it utilizes both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. This technology also support bandwidth of up to 1300 Mbps and 450 Mbps on signal frequency spectrum of 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz respectively (Berg, 2011). Although the cost can be higher the higher frequency is not prone to interference from home appliance.

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