What is the basic difference between Wi-Fi and WLAN?
I made a crude Venn diagram to illustrate how these two types of wireless communications relate:
While wireless LANs refer to any local area network (LAN) that a mobile user can connect to through a wireless (radio) connection; Wi-Fi (short for "wireless fidelity") is a term for certain types of WLANs that use specifications in the 802.11 wireless protocol family.
According to WhatIs.com:
The term Wi-Fi was created by an organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance, which oversees tests that certify product interoperability. A product that passes the alliance tests is given the label "Wi-Fi certified" (a registered trademark).
Interestingly enough, the latest standard, 802.11n, ratification is planned for September 2009.
To familiarize yourself with how different wireless technologies differ with Wi-Fi, here are a few other resources from our site and sister site, SearchNetworkingChannel.com:
- Differences between Wi-Fi, WLAN and WiMax
- Differences between Wi-Fi, WiMax and broadband
- Choosing between Wi-Fi, wireless and broadband
You can learn more about wireless protocols and specifications, plus how to configure and deploy a WLAN in our wireless protocols learning guide.
Dig Deeper on WLAN Standards
Related Q&A from Tessa Parmenter
Do you know the difference between an IP address and a machine address? Find out in this Ask the Expert response.continue reading
Want to know the difference between frame relay and ATM networks? Find out in this expert response.continue reading
Are you looking for resources on wireless networking and a definition to define this concept? Then view this expert answer.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.