Ever wonder what all these wireless standards add up to?
David Coursey, executive editor of ZDNet's Anchor Desk, had this to say in his very good article published on November 6, 2001:
Confused by wireless networking standards? Join the club. An alphabet soup of emerging wireless LAN protocols isn't making it any easier. But they are making it better. Here's how the current favorite, 802.11 a.k.a. WiFi, is being improved for the toughest of all wireless environments--your home.
802.11b. Also called WiFi, this is a wireless Ethernet standard using the 2.4-2.48GHz band of the radio spectrum. It operates at speeds between 1 and 11Mbps.
802.11a. This wireless standard operates on the less-crowded 5GHz band and offers speeds of up to 54Mbps. It won't cover the same distances as 802.11b.
802.11g. This is a proposal for a 2.4GHz network operating at speeds of 22Mbps or more. It's slower than "a," but faster than "b"--and compatible with it, too.
802.11e. This specification adds multimedia and quality-of-service support to the 802.11 standard. So future 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g could also support 802.11e.
HomeRF. A wireless LAN that uses its own protocol and runs at 1.6Mbps at 2.4GHz. Not compatible with 802.11 products.
Bluetooth. Limited to a 30-foot range, it runs at 1Mbps over the 2.4GHz frequency. But the next generation will run twice as fast. Not compatible with 802.11 and subject to mutual radio interference.