IEEE 802.11
IEEE 802.11 is part of the IEEE 802 set of LAN protocols, and specifies the set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) protocols for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) Wi-Fi computer communication in various frequencies, including but not limited to 2.4, 5, and 60 GHz frequency bands.



Applications and Tools


Definitions

  • Band Steering is a technique used in dual band Wi-Fi equipment that encourages newer client devices to use the less congested 5 GHz network. Here’s how it works. When a new device connects to the network, the access point will determine if it is dual-band capable (in other words, can the device connect to the 5 GHz band). If it can, the access point will push the device to connect on 5 GHz by blocking any attempt by the device to connect to the 2.4 GHz band.
  • Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) is a wireless technology that uses multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time. All wireless products with 802.11n support MIMO. The technology helps allow 802.11n to reach higher speeds than products without 802.11n.


References


Specifications

IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol summary

Protocol Frequency Channel Width MIMO Theoretical speed Real World speed
802.11ax 2.4 or 5GHz 20, 40, 80, 160MHz Multi User (MU-MIMO) 2.4 Gbps 1 1.2 Gbps
802.11ac wave2 5 GHz 20, 40, 80, 16MHz Multi User (MU-MIMO) 1.73 Gbps 2 1 Gbps
802.11ac wave1 5 GHz 20, 40, 80MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 866.7 Mbps 2 430 Mbps
802.11n 2.4 or 5 GHz 20, 40MHz Single User (SU-MIMO) 900 Mbps 3 450 Mbps
802.11g 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps 29 Mbps
802.11a 5 GHz 20 MHz N/A 54 Mbps 29 Mbps
802.11b 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 11 Mbps 3 Mbps
Legacy 802.11 2.4 GHz 20 MHz N/A 2 Mbps 6 Kbps
     1 2 Spatial streams with 1024-QAM modulation.
     2 2 Spatial streams with 256-QAM modulation.
     3 3 Spatial streams with 64-QAM modulation.


802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
  • Supports both 2.4 & 5 GHz
Mode Maximum rate Antenna transmit /
Receive arrangements
1x1 20 MHz 143 Mbps 1 TX (Transmit, Upload)
1 RX (Receive, Download)
2x2 20 MHz 287 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 40 MHz 287 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 40 MHz 574 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 601 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 1.2 Gbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 160 MHz 1.2 Gbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 160 MHz 2.4 Gbps 2 TX
2 RX


802.11ac wave2
  • Released in June 2016.
  • Key New Features for Wi-Fi clients:
    • Multi-User MIMO
    • 160 MHz channels
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX (Transmit, Upload)
1 RX (Receive, Download)
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 160 MHz 866 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 160 MHz 1.73 Gbps 2 TX
2 RX


802.11ac wave1
  • Released in January 2014.
  • Data rates varying modulation types and number of spatial streams; 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, 433 Mbps, 600 Mbps, 867 Mbps. See table below.
  • 24 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band.
1x1 40 MHz 200 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 40 MHz 400 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
1x1 80 MHz 433 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 80 MHz 866 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX


802.11n
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 1, 2, 5.5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps (see table below)
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) using multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) and channel bonding (CB)
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz
  • 12 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band with and without CB
Note We recommend channel bonding for the 5 GHz because there are a limited number of non-overlapping channels available in the 2.4 GHz band.
1x1 20 MHz 72.2 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
1x1 40 Mhz 150 Mbps 1 TX
1 RX
2x2 20 MHz 144.4 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
2x2 40 MHz 300 Mbps 2 TX
2 RX
3x3 20 MHz 216.7 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX
3x3 40 MHz 450 Mbps 3 TX
3 RX


802.11g
  • Released in 2003.
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 54 Mbps; can revert to 1, 2, 5.5, and 11 Mbps using DSSS and CCK.
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) with 52 subcarrier channels; backwards compatible with 802.11b using DSSS and CCK.
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz.


802.11a
  • Released in 1999.
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 54 Mbps.
  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) with 52 subcarrier channels.
  • 12 non-overlapping unlicensed national information infrastructure (UNII) channels in 5 GHz frequency band.


802.11b
  • Released in 1999.
  • Data rates with varying modulation types: 1, 2, 5.5 and 11 Mbps.
  • High-rate direct-sequence spread spectrum (HR-DSSS).
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz.


Legacy 802.11
  • Released in 1997.
  • Two raw data rates of 1 and 2 Mbps.
  • Frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).
  • Three non-overlapping channels in industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) frequency band at 2.4 GHz.
  • Originally defined carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA-CA).
 
Donate Donate An illustration of a heart shape                               1999 - 2021 paultclark.com