As this is our first look at 802.11g products, it’s prudent to first offer a brief discussion of the standard.
The 802.11 standards are a set of blanket specifications that define how wireless networking technology should be produced and operate in order that devices from different manufacturers remain compatible. 802.11 and its sub-standards (such as 802.11b, 802.11g, etc.) are defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA), a non-profit technical association. Though there are various other wireless standards in use today, such as BlueTooth, the IEEE 802.11 family of specifications are by far the most widely used (802.11b is the most popular wireless format). Obviously it is in the best interests of manufacturers to adhere to the IEEE standards in order for their devices to be useful.
As to the 802.11g sub-specification in particular, 802.11g is an extension of the popular 802.11b standard. The former improves bandwidth from 11Mbps to 54Mbps, but the two standards are otherwise very similar. Both offer the same number of channels, and operate in the same 2.4 GHz frequency band. In terms of compatibility, 802.11b and 802.11g devices are completely interoperable. In other words, an 802.11b wireless PCMCIA card is fully capable of interfacing with an 802.11g Router, or visa versa. Naturally, the speed of operation will be limited by the slowest of the devices. For example, while it is certainly possible to connect to an 11g Router with an 11b wireless card, the connection speed will be limited to 11Mbps by the older 11b wireless card. Both devices must be 802.11g-rated in order to achieve a 54Mbps connection.
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