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802.11 – this was the original IEEE standard for wireless connectivity at 1Mbps and 2Mbps in the 2.4GHz band.

802.11a – is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard that supports a maximum data rate of 54Mbps in the 5GHz band. 802.11a access points have a smaller cell size than 802.11b/g products.

802.11b – is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard that supports a maximum data rate of 11Mbps in the 2.4GHz band. 802.11b devices are forward compatible with 802.11g devices and many dual-standard devices are referred to as 802.11b/g.

802.11e – is an IEEE standard specification designed to guarantee Quality-of-Service (QoS) of voice and video services over wireless networks.

802.11g – is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard that supports a maximum data rate of 54Mbps in the 2.4GHz band.

802.11i – is the WPA2 wireless encryption standard replacing the earlier WPA and initial WEP standards.

802.11n – is an amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard that supports a maximum data rate of 600Mbps with the use of four spatial streams at a channel width of 40MHz.

AP (Access Point) – a WLAN device that allows compatible wireless enabled equipment to communicate with a wired network.

Ad hoc Mode – a method by which a number of wireless enabled devices communicate with each other (peer-to-peer) without using either an access point or connection to a wired network.

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) – is a US government adopted encryption standard that supports 128, 192 and 256 bit encoding to provide user privacy and data security.

Antenna – a device that radiates or receives radio (RF) signals.

Antenna Beamwidth – is the angle of an antenna pattern in which the relative power is 50% of the peak power. It is also known as the half-power beamwidth.

Antenna Gain – is the gain of the main beam of an antenna relative to a reference antenna; either an isotropic or standard dipole.

BPSK (Binary Phase Shift Keying) – a modulation technique where two phases of the signal are used to double the data-rate. Also known as 2-PSK modulation.

BS (Base Station) – a term used to describe equipment installed at a network operator’s central facility.

ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) – the European standardization body for telecommunications. www.etsi.org

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) – the government department that sets and controls the communications standards in the US.

Full-duplex – a method of transmission in which data may be passed simultaneously in both directions.

Half-duplex – a method of transmission in which data may be transferred in one direction at a time.

Infrastructure Mode – a wireless configuration in which a device is connected to a wired network via an access point.

ISM (Industrial Scientific and Medical) – a set of radio frequency bands allocated by the FCC for wireless LANs.

LAN – Local Area Network.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) – a communications network that covers a geographic area.

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) – is one of several forms of smart antennas systems that use an array of multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to improve communications performance.

Ofcom (Office of Communications) – the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. www.ofcom.org.uk

RF – radio frequency.

Simplex – a method of transmission in which data may be passed in one direction only.

SSID (Service Set IDentifier) – is the specific name given to a wireless network that is used by devices to identify themselves and thus be allowed to the correct network.

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) – this was the original IEEE 802.11 standard specification to provide security using data encryption. It is has since been enhanced by the WPA and WPA2 standards.

WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) – the trade mark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non profit organization formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of IEEE802.11 wireless LAN products. www.wi-fi.org

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) – a non profit organization formed to certify compatibility and promote the interoperability of broadband wireless access equipment adhering to the IEEE802.16 standard. www.wimaxforum.org

WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) – a company set-up to provide access to the internet using wireless technology.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) – a wireless communications network that links servers, workstations and a network operating system (OS) that supports users over a confined geographical area, usually a building or group of buildings.

WMAN – Wireless Metropolitan Area Network.

WPA (Wireless Protected Access) – an encryption standard that was developed by the WiFi Alliance to replace WEP prior to the ratification of the IEEE 802.11i standard. It uses dynamic keys, Extensible Authentication Protocol to secure network access and Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) encryption to secure the data transmissions.

WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access 2) – an enhanced version of the WPA standard that uses AES instead of TKIP ratified by the IEEE 802i task group.

Yagi – a multi-element parasitic antenna developed by Yagi and Uda in Japan in the late 1920’s. The Yagi design is a very popular directional or beam antenna.