802.11b is the standard that is popularly used for high speed wireless networks. The standard is set by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and uses a 2.4 gigahertz radio frequency. There are several standards that are in use today for wireless communication from one computer device to another; however 802.11b is cost effective, quick and easy to use.
For many people, building a wifi network is easier than ever thanks to 802.11b. This technology usually includes a wireless router that is able to send radio signals using 802.11b over the air to other computers or electronic devices. Usually a Wifi router is hooked up to either a computer server or broadband Internet connection. In order for other computers to pick up and send signals to the router, it must have a Wifi card with the ability to send and receive 802.11b signals.
802.11b has become a popular wireless wifi standard because of four main attributes:
802.11b can delivers speeds of up to 11 megabits per second; however expect a typical rate of transfer near 6.5 megabits per second
This standard usually delivers a clear enough signal to make it effective for about 50 meters (150 feet). Range can vary depending on many variables including, structure such as being in an apartment building or office building, having your router on another floor than your computer, being outside or in an open area and having interference from other devices operating close to the frequencies being used such as a microwave oven or cordless phone.
Clarity of the Signal
Since 802.11b operates on a frequency that is 2.4 -2.5 GHZ, the clarity of the signal is generally good and because it is lower than other frequencies, it has the ability to move through walls and other obstacles usually unaffected.
The price points for both the router and wifi cards are both usually under $100 making this technology easily affordable for large corporations, small and home based businesses and private home use.
Other 802.11 Standards
Besides 802.11b, there are other frequencies and standards available. Two other standards that are similar to 802.11b are 802.11a and 802.11g. These standards are similar. For instance 802.11a uses a higher frequency and can not be used with 802.11b technology. However 802.11g is quicker than 802.11b and is backward compatible with "b" technology.