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1.2. What is a Wireless LAN?

A wireless LAN (referred to as WLAN in this guide) is a wireless local area network that allows computers or other devices to communicate via radio frequency (RF) technology. It affords the user mobility to move around and stay connected to the network without using physical cables such as in a traditional Ethernet system.
The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a non-profit, global organization which implemented and continually develops a set of standards for wireless communication. This family of standards is known as IEEE 802.11 and consists of the actual standards and protocols defining how computers communicate via a WLAN. Standards are discussed in more detail later. Although wireless networks are commonly referred to as Wi-Fi, this is only a marketing term chosen by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (now known as the Wi-Fi Alliance). When referring to Wi-Fi, the underlying technology is typically a WLAN or device operating within the standards of the IEEE within the 802.11 family.