Why Are There Different Wireless Network Frequencies


Wireless networks have been developing over the past number of years and with the improvements in technology we have had a number of different protocols, which sometimes confuse people. Many people have come across the term 802.11, which is basically a standardized protocol. Over the next couple of years we will start to hear more about 802.16, which is also known as WiMax.

802.11b has been a protocol since around 1999. If you we’re getting into wireless networks around this time you will be very familiar with this standard. It had a maximum network speed of 11Mbps but to be honest realistically was a lot slower and said to average around 5Mbps. It operates in the frequency range 2.412 and 2.484 GHz. Because it’s on this frequency range this standard does not require any type of special license to broadcast a signal.

802.11g came along in around 2003 and started to hit the mass market around 2004. Very similar to the protocol above it transmits on the same frequency but has a maximum network speed of 54Mbps. This is a standard that you’ll find in most home WiFi routers and network cards in PCs and laptops.

802.11a this protocol also has a maximum speed of 54Mbps but operates on a higher frequency then the two mentioned above. Because of the fact that it is working on a different frequency you may be required to have a license to broadcast this of course varies in different countries so you will need to check locally what the requirements are.

802.16 or WiMax has actually been around since about 2004 than something we will start to see more from in the coming couple of years. The advantage with this is it can offer flexibility and services including VOIP, distance monitoring and many other features. It has started to roll it out in some countries but we are not seeing it hitting mass market yet but something that will definitely take a foothold in the next couple of years mainly driven by cellular networks.