The Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) standard is based on the 802.11 specification and is currently the most common standard for wireless home and small-office networking. Wi-Fi is ideal for small-business and home wireless networks with an indoor range of about 150 feet and an outdoor range of about 300 feet. In a simple network, the network signal is brought into the home/office via a modem, and a router/access point distributes the signal. There are four common versions of 802.11, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The 802.11n specification is the most recent development in the area of Wi-Fi. 802.11n builds on previous 802.11 standards by adding multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and 40 MHz channels to the physical (PHY) layer, and frame aggregation to the MAC layer. MIMO is a technology which uses multiple antennas to coherently resolve more information than possible using a single antenna. Two important benefits it provides to 802.11n are antenna diversity and spatial multiplexing.
The 802.11g specification is the most recent of the Wi-Fi specs to be approved and is currently the most commonly implemented Wi-Fi standard. Like 802.11n and 802.11b, 802.11g operates in the 2.4GHz spectrum, but without the MIMO advantage of 802.11n, 802.11g is highly subject to interference from other electronic devices that operate in the same spectrum, such as cordless phones and baby monitors.
As the first popular Wi-Fi technology, the 802.11b specification offers slower data speeds than 802.11n, 802.11g, or 802.11a, with a theoretical throughput of 11Mbps and real-world performance of about 5Mbps. Otherwise, its specs mirror those of 802.11g. 802.11b has an...