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Ieee Wireless Protocols вð‚" 802.11ð²ð‚™s Evolution

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Wireless communication protocols have evolved rapidly since the introduction of 802.11 Legacy over a decade ago. Over the last 10 years we have seen efficiency and performance increases on all fronts, which have lead to greater range and faster transfer speeds.

With Legacy 802.11 protocols, speeds maxed out at around 2 Mbits/sec and indoor range was only about 20 meters. In 1999, the 802.11 protocol got a couple of amendments in the form of 802.11a and 802.11b. Both offered higher speeds and slightly greater range, but there were many differences between the two standards in how they achieved those two things. 802.11b uses an offshoot of the same modulation technique as the older Legacy protocol, known as complementary code keying (CCK) (based on direct-sequence spread spectrum used in Legacy). Both protocols also use CSMA/CA for multiple access, which is the reason both Legacy and 802.11b protocols were much slower than any of the other versions we’ve seen вЂ" CSMA/CA carries a lot of overhead meaning much wasted bandwidth. With 802.11a, we see much faster speeds (54Mbits/sec versus 11Mbits/sec with 802.11b) thanks mostly to orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) and its use of the 5MHz bandwidth spectrum which is much less crowded than the 2.4GHz spectrum used by 802.11a and Legacy protocols. Despite these distinct advantages, 802.11a lagged behind 802.11b due to slow availability of the 5GHz hardware to manufacturers and the fact that first wave of hardware put

on the market was plagued with bad performance. By the time the second wave of hardware was available, 802.11b had so many users that it didn’t make sense to switch for most users who had just finished stabilizing their networks.

The next protocol to hit was 802.11g, which the IEEE ratified in 2003. 802.11b users were starving for faster speeds by this time, but due to compatibility issues, had not switched to 802.11a which had a much smaller hardware base. 802.11g was the answer to all of this; it is compatible with both 802.11a and 802.11a, so compatibility issues were non-existent. 802.11g combined the best of both worlds вЂ" the higher speeds of 802.11a and its OFDM modulation technique and the lower production costs of the 802.11b due to the fact that it didn’t operate on the 5GHz hardware; it instead uses the more common 2.4GHz spectrum. 802.11g had many early adopters and became popular very quickly.

802.11g has been the standard for the last five or so years, but consumers and businesses are demanding higher speeds and wider ranges as Wi-Fi computing continues to grow. More devices are sharing these connections now, putting more strain on the systems, causing a need for newer, faster, and more efficient protocols. 802.11n seems to be the



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