Breaking Down the 802.11n and 802.11ac WLAN Standards

Kim Mays

Reading through and understanding the latest IEEE 802.11n and 802.ac WLAN standards is beyond challenging. It’s lengthy and the text is technical and confusing.

An easier way to get up to date on these standards is with the comprehensive guide, “Next Generation Wireless LANs: 802.11n and 802.11ac,” from Cambridge University Press. In its second edition, this book provides all you need to know about the principles behind the standards, implementation information, and integral features of each standard.

Our IT Download provides an excerpt from this book that looks at both the 802.11n and 802.11ac standards. The download contains some of the history behind the creation of these standards. According to this publication:

WLAN products and systems started with 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a standard amendments, which provided throughput enhancements over the original 802.11 PHYs. Progress in LAN technology continued with the development of 802.11n. Increased data rates were achieved with the multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) concept, with its origins by Foschini (1996) at Bell Labs. In 2004, Atheros demonstrated that 40MHz devices could be produced at almost the same cost as 20MHz devices.

Network managers, WLAN designers and anyone in the wireless communications field can learn a lot about the IEEE 802.11 history, including:

  • 802.11 MAC
  • 802.11 PHYs
  • 802.11 network architecture
  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • The history of High Throughput

This book excerpt gives readers a solid preview of the context of the full book as well as the back story behind these integral standards for our WLAN technologies.



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