Wireless LAN Standards | 802.11a vs 802.11b vs 802.11g

Wireless LAN Standards | 802.11a vs 802.11b vs 802.11g

The main standard for wireless LAN is the 802.11. WLAN applications include inside-building access, LAN extension, outside building-to building communications, public access, and small office/home office communications. Some of the famous standards that are used in wireless communication are:

802.11 Wireless Standard:

802.11 is for wireless local area network standard and the original 802.11 standard was introduced in 1997 by IEEE.

  • It uses two different types of RF technologies that are FHSS (Frequency-hopping spread spectrum) and DSSS (direct-sequence spread spectrum).
  • FHSS and DSSS operating on in 1 Mbps or 2Mbps and 802.11 operate in 2.5 GHz frequency range.
  • 802.11 family use half duplex modulation.
  • 802.11b and 802.11g are most famous standard used in wireless communication.


802.11b Wireless Standard:

The 802.11b standard was introduced in 1999 by IEEE.

  • It uses the DSSS (direct-sequence spread spectrum) at the frequency range 2.4 GHz.
  • 802.11b use the bracker-11 and CCK encoding scheme. Modulation types that are used in 802.11b are DBPSK and DQPSK.
  • 802.11b has the data rates from 1Mbps to 11Mbps, for the different data rates (1, 2, 5.5, 11Mbps) you have different modulation techniques.
  • In 802.11b you have three non overlapping channels which are 1, 6 and 11.

802.11g Wireless Standard:

802.11g was introduced in 2003 and also compatible with 802.11b.

  • RF modulation technologies that are used by 802.11g are DSSS and OFDM.
  • 802.11g operate in 2.4 GHz spectrum.
  • In 802.11g you have three non overlapping cannels 1, 6, 11.


This standard was come in 1999.

  • 802.11a use OFDM.
  • 802.11a provides a maximum 54-Mbps data rate.
  • 802.11a operates in 5.0 GHz frequency.
  • 802.11a is incompatible with 802.11 b and g.
  • 802.11a is not mainly used standard as compared to 802.11b and 802.11g.
  • 802.11a has the data rate from 6-54 Mbps.
  • The data rate is reduced to 48, 36, 24, 18, 12, 9 then 6 Mbit/s if required. 802.11a originally had 12/13 non-overlapping channels

802.11n Wireless Standard

  • The IEEE 802.11n standard was ratified in 2009.
  • It added multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas and expected maximum data rate up to 600 Mbps using four spatial streams, each with a 40-MHz width.
  • In addition to DSSS, it uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) as a digital carrier modulation method. IEEE 802.11n uses both the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands.

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Waqas Azam
Me Waqas Azam and I am a professional blogger & freelance writer. I also working in the IT industry for over 7 years. I am graduated in Computer Science and information technology.