802.11 is a protocol created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This protocol defines a method for transmitting and receiving data communications wire- lessly. The original specification was ratified in 1997. This protocol supported 3 physical methods: Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) in the 2.4GHz frequency range, as well as Infrared (IR). (Note that IR was never suc- cessfully deployed as a commercial option). Speeds of 1Mbps and 2Mbps were supported. In 1999, the IEEE approved 2 new higher speed additions to the protocol: 802.11a and 802.11b. 802.11a defined (up to) 54Mbps Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) at 5GHz and 802.11b defined 5.5Mbps and 11Mbps using DSSS in the 2.4GHz spec- trum. In 2003, 802.11g was established to provide (up to) 54Mbps OFDM in the 2.4GHz spectrum. For more information about the 802.11 protocol, please visit

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