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In 1997 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the first WLAN standard. They called it 802.11 after the name of the group formed to oversee its development. this first version only supported a maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps today it has been improved to over 300Mbps using MIMO devices based on this first version, a comparable wired LAN on CAT5e Ethernet twisted pair cables usually is classes at a minimum of 10Mbps to a maximum speed of 100Mbps (often called 100/10Mbps) Here is a summary of all the Wi-Fi versions and letter numbers upto the present day in 2010.
In 1999, the 802.11b specification was released for the the domestic market, supporting bandwidth up to 11 Mbps at the same time the 802.11a was released for the business market upporting bandwidth up to 54 Mbps it was much more expensive and signals had more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions so it was dropped. In 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g it combines the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b it supports the same bandwidth as 802.11a of 54 Mbps (hence it is often called 54g this is the Wi-Fi standard), it uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency for greater range the 802.11g technology is backwards compatible with 802.11b, all WLAN cards will call this 802.11b/g Some versions offer 128g which is 54g twice but only if the router will supports this doubled speed, the majority of all routers use a V.90 modem which will only support 54Mbps (aka 54g).
The newest IEEE standard in the Wi-Fi category is 802.11n (called MIMO technology) . It was designed to improve on 802.11g in the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and using antennas instead of one, it support data rates of over 100 Mbps upto 300Mbps and also offers somewhat better range over earlier Wi-Fi standards due to its increased signal intensity. All 802.11n equipment will be backward compatible with 802.11g/b networks.
Most internal WLAN cards are plug and play on the PCI bus, however more and more version are being provided as either a USB or PCMCIA version for laptops and desktops, this version below will work with all versions 11b, 54g and 11n upto 300Mbps ( if the router that you have will suport it.
The latest technology is called Wi-MAX is designed for long-range networking spanning miles or kilometers as opposed to local area wireless networking or WLAN. The other end of the Wireless technology spectrum, that split from 802.11b is called BlueTooth and works up to a maximum distance of 10 Meters used exclusively as the standard in Mobile Phone devices like headphones and short distance inter-connection to other phones and PC's.
Hi wlkofdoom, with that card - people complaint you'll need to get better antennas, but on the other hard you need to see your router wireless capabilities. I mean you have a a/b/g/n wireless card right? but if you router is G, then you are not using the card to its full potential. Remember cable goes 100 MBps and wireless G goes 54Mbps (half the speed) and you also have to consider distance. So what I would do is write my router's model number on google and get the specs and wireless range. If you have an N router it's faster and the signal goes longer but again, anything wireless tends to degrade due to whether, RF signals, microwaves, celphones, etc. so get a better antenna for your router. I hope this helps and don't forget to rate and write positive feedback for our answer today. Thank you :D