With the huge popularity of WiFi and its increasing use in household and commercial networks, it’s essential for you to understand the associated terms, standards, and acronyms that are rapidly becoming an integral part of this jargon.

Below, we have highlighted a few terms for your reference. Have a look.

1. 802.11

The set of standards maintained by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) committee for wireless networking.

2. 802.11a

It’s the IEEE standard maintained for wireless networking functioning in the 5GHz range. Networks operating in this standard can support up to 54 Mbps and is perfectly operational in the UNII bands.

3. 802.11b

 This one can operate in the 2.4 GHz range and supports up to 11 Mbps in the ISM band.

4. 20 MHz Channel

 It’s the default bandwidth channel used by the 2.4 GHz networks.

5. 40 MHz Channel

It’s an alternative bandwidth channel functional in the 2.4 GHz range that can be used by newer access points and clients for obtaining higher throughputs.

6. Access Point

It’s a device acting as a bridge between the wired network and wireless clients. It’s often abbreviated as AP.

7. AES

AKA Advanced Encryption Standard found primarily in WPA2.

This one’s a symmetric block encryption protocol used for encryption of data.

8. Ad Hoc Mode

It’s nothing but a peer to peer mode of networking. Ad Hoc networks can support more than 2 devices.

9. Beacon

A beacon advertises the existence of an access point on a particular channel and is typically transmitted 10 times a second.

It includes all the information required by a client to associate including the likes of the ESSID, supported channels and data rates, and whether the channel is in need of any authentication or not.

10. Bridge

It’s a network device that helps to interconnect two dissimilar network types. An access point can also act as a bridge between wired and wireless networks.

11. Captive portal

A captive portal is a procedure running on an access point that is capable of intercepting and redirecting clients to a web page where they are compelled to meet a certain set of terms and conditions to gain access.

12. Channel

It’s the network path for wireless transmission of data.

Every wireless standard comes with numerous channels, each having a central frequency. For example, 802.11b and g networks have 11 channels in the US and Canada, and 14 in other countries. 801.11a networks come with 9 channels in the US. 

13. EAP

AKA Extensive Authentication Protocol.

It can be used to provide authentication to wireless networks during the deployment WPA-Enterprise and WPA2-Enterprise.

14. Hotspot

An access point set up particularly to provide wireless access to users. Wireless hotspots can be typically found in coffee shops, airports, railway stations, restaurants, and various other publicly accessible locations.

15. Repeater

It’s a wireless device capable of receiving and retransmitting signals without providing any direct access to a wired network. These are usually used to increase the range of a wireless network.

For more information on WiFi terms and usage, refer to the infographic below:

Source- Inspire WiFi

Published by Edward Martin