WiFi Wi-Fi Glossary


Inactive User
Sep 14, 2004
Reaction score
NW London
This WiFi Glossary (that I have leeched) will be constantly updated and expand accordingly overtime, in hope to be more comprehensive and relevenant with time.

Please PM me for any updates you want to have added to the glossary.

802.11a It describes a wireless LAN that operates in the 5GHz frequency range and provides a data transmission speed of up to 54Mbps. It uses orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) technology. The 5GHz range is less crowded with devices than the 2.4GHz range, so there is less risk of interference.

802.11b It is the most widespread wireless LAN standard. It describes a wireless LAN that operates in the 2.4GHz frequency range with a data transmission speed of up to 11Mbps using spread spectrum technology. (This specification was also known as Wi-Fi, but that term now encompasses newer standards such as 802.11a and 802.11g.)

802.11d Because countries use different bands of the radio spectrum, this standard was developed to allow International Roaming of devices. It essentially tells systems which frequencies to use and when to send data. Some Airlines and Airports use this standard for transferring data between the parked plane and the airport terminal.

802.11e It provides Quality of Service (QoS) support for LAN applications, which will be critical for delay-sensitive applications such as Voice over Wireless IP (VoWIP). The standard will provide classes of service with managed levels of QoS for data, voice, and video applications.

802.11g It describes a wireless LAN that operates in the 2.4GHz frequency range. It provides a data transmission speed (over short distances) of up to 104Mbps using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) technology. The latest chipsets have the potential to reach 140Mbps in transfer rate. Same as 802.11b, the 2.4GHz range is already crowded with various devices, so signal interference is a risk.

802.11h This standard is supplementary to the MAC layer to comply with European regulations for 5GHz WLANs. European radio regulations for the 5GHz band require products to have transmission power control (TPC) and dynamic frequency selection (DFS). TPC limits the transmitted power to the minimum needed to reach the furthest user. DFS selects the radio channel at the access point to minimize interference with other systems, particularly radar. Pan-European approval of 802.11h is not expected until the end of 2003.

802.11i This supplemental draft standard is intended to improve WLAN security in the form of WPA and WPA2 for 802.11a and 802.11b. It defines new encryption key protocols including the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). It requires an additional coprocessor because the AES is more processor demanding.

802.11j It provides Enhancements to the current 802.11 with 4.9GHz - 5GHz Operations in Japan.

802.11k It provides Radio Resource Measurements of Wireless LANs.

802.11ma It provides Enhancements to the current 802.11 Standard to provide Technical Corrections and Clarifications

802.11n It provides Enhancements to the current 802.11 Standard to provide improvements Throughput

802.11r It is developed to improve the roaming of clients as they move from network to network.

802.1x It is a security standard for wired and wireless LANs. It encapsulates EAP processes into Ethernet packets instead of using the protocol's native PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) environment, thus reducing some network overhead. Consume minimal processing power.

802.16 Also called WiMax. Broadband capability with transmission up to 30 miles and works with people on fast moving cars and trains up to 155 miles per hour. Expect equipment to be sold in early 2005.

802.20 Something still much at work. A few years away.

ACK Acknowledgment.
Ad-Hoc Mode A client setting that provides independent peer-to-peer connectivity in a wireless LAN. Also see Infrastructure Mode.
AH Authentication Header. A field that follows the IP header in an IP datagram and provides authentication and integrity checking for the datagram.
AP Access Point. A hub for wireless clients.
ARP Address Resolution Protocol.
ASIM Automated Security Incident Measurement. Monitoring of network traffic and collection of information on networks by detecting unauthorized network activity.
BER Bit Error Rate.
BPS Bits Per Second.
Cantenna Homemade WiFi antenna made out of either one or two connected tin cans.
CCP Compression Control Protocol. Used to negotiate compression methods over PPP links.
CSMA/CA Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Avoidance. CSMA/CA is the medium access method used by IEEE 802.11 WLANs.
DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
DES Data Encryption Standard. A cryptographic algorithm for protecting data.
DSSS Direct-Sequencing Spread-Spectrum.
EAP Extensible Authentication Protocol. EAP is a PPP extension that provides support for additional authentication methods within PPP.
ECP Encryption Control Protocol. Used to negotiate data encryption over PPP links.
ESA Encapsulating Security Payload. A mechanism which provides confidentiality and integrity protection to IP datagrams.
FHSS Frequency-Hopping Spread-Spectrum
Fresnel Zone The area around the visual line-of-sight that radio waves spread out into after they leave the antenna. This area must be clear or else signal strength will weaken.
IAS Internet Authentication Service server, a RADIUS Server which performs connection authentication and accounting for dial-up and VPN remote access.
Infrastructure Mode A client setting providing connectivity to an Access Point (AP). As compared to Ad-Hoc Mode where PCs communicate directly with each other, clients set in Infrastructure Mode all pass data through a central AP.
IDS Intrusion Detection System. Hardware and/or software which detects unauthorised access.
IP Address An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a 32-bit number that identifies each sender or receiver of information that is sent across the Internet.
IP Spoofing An attack whereby a system attempts to impersonate another system by using its IP network address.
LCP Link Control Protocol.
MAC Medium Access Control. In a WLAN network card, the MAC is radio controller protocol.
MAC Spoofing An attack whereby a system attempts to impersonate another system by using its MAC address.
NAK Negative Acknowledgment.
NAT Network Address Translation. The translation of an IP address used within one network to a different IP address known within another network.
NCSC National Computer Security Center.
NDIS Network Driver Interface Specification.
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology.
OFDM Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing.
OSI Open Systems Interconnection. A set of international standards for networking.
Phased Array Antenna A High Performance and Smart antenna which can aim it's beam of signal and adaptively point to their intended receipient by using Digital Processor to manipulate incoming and outgoing signal. It is also capable of longer range with the same power used in traditional dipole antenna, connecting multiple users with the same frequency and potentially much higher throughput.
PHY Physical Layer. The PHY is the lowest layer within the OSI Network Model.
PKI Public Key Infrastructure.
PPP Point-to-Point Protocol. PPP Provides a standard method for transporting multi-protocol datagrams over point-to-point links.
Sniffer A program to capture data from a computer network.
SNMP Simple Network Management Protocol (also see TCP/IP).
SSID Service Set Identifier - wireless network name.
SSL Secure Sockets Layer. A session layer protocol that provides authentication and confidentiality to applications.
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol.
Topology Describes how a network is structured.
TLS Transport Level Security. TLS provides for mutual authentication, integrity-protected negotiation and key exchange between two endpoints.
VPN Virtual Private Network.
WAN Wide Area Network.
WAP Wireless Application Protocol. It is an open specification that supports Internet protocols on wireless devices such as mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, smart phones and communicators to easily access and interact with Internet-based services. Simply put, WAP is a special way of formatting content so that it can appear on small screens, like those on mobile phones.
WPA Wi-Fi Protected Access. The Wi-Fi Alliance put together WPA as a data encryption method for 802.11 wireless LANs. WPA is an industry-supported, pre-standard version of 802.11i utilizing the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which fixes the problems of WEP, including using dynamic keys. WPA will serve until the 802.11i standard is ratified in the third quarter of 2003.
WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy. Encryption-based security using a pre-shared key.
WiFi (Wi-Fi) Wireless Fidelity. Wireless Local Area Networking standard.
WLAN, W-LAN Wireless Local Area Network (LAN).
WLL Wireless Local Loop.
Last edited by a moderator: