Wireless Local Area Networking Glossary

Also see 802.11 WiFi abbreviations and acronyms.

access point (AP) – A stand-alone wireless hub that allows any computer that has a wireless network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet.

ad hoc network – In ad hoc mode, wireless clients communicate directly with each other without the use of a wireless AP. Also known as a peer-to-peer network or a computer-to-computer network.

AES Advanced Encryption Standard – An additional replacement for WEP encryption.

associated – The state when a wireless client adapter has made a connection with a chosen wireless AP.

association – The process by which a wireless client negotiates the use of a logical port with the chosen wireless AP.

authentication – The process whereby preapproved wireless clients may join a collision domain. Authentication occurs before association.

available network – One of the networks listed under available networks when PC wireless cards on the wireless networks

Network Connection Properties(WZC) – All wireless networks (both AP and ad hoc) that are broadcasting and are within receiving range of your wireless WLAN card enabled computer are listed. Any wireless network that you are already connected to is also listed as an available network, even if it is not broadcasting.

base station – A stand-alone wireless hub that allows any computer that has a wireless network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet. A base station is usually referred to as an access point (AP).

DHCP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol – A mechanism for allocating IP addresses dynamically so that addresses can be reused when hosts no longer need them.
DQPSK differential quadrature phase shift keying The modulation technique used for standard transmit rate.

infrastructure network – A network in which there is at least one wireless AP and one wireless client. The wireless client uses the wireless AP to access the resources of a traditional wired network. The wired network can be an organization intranet or the Internet, depending on the placement of the wireless AP.

ISM frequency bands – Inductrial, Scientific, and Medical frequency bands in the range of 902–928 MHz; 2.4–2.485 GHz; 5.15–5.35 GHz; and 5.75–5.825 GHz.

LAN local area network – A high-speed, low-error data network covering a relatively small geographic area.

network key – A string of characters that the user must type when configuring a wireless network connection with WEP, TKIP, or AES encryption. Small office/home office users can obtain this string from the AP installer; enterprise users can obtain this string from the network administrator.

residential gateway – A stand-alone wireless hub that allows any computer that has a wireless network adapter to communicate with another computer and to connect to the Internet. A residential gateway is also referred to as an access point (AP).

RF – radio frequency

roaming A feature of a wireless WLAN card that enables wireless clients to move through a facility while maintaining an unbroken connection to the wireless network.

scanning – An active process in which the wireless WLAN card sends Probe-Request frames on all channels of the ISM frequency range and listens for the Probe-Response frames sent by wireless APs and other wireless clients.

SSID service set identifier A value that controls access to a wireless network. The SSID for your wireless WLAN card must match the SSID for any access point that you want to connect with. If the value does not match, you are not granted access to the network. Each SSID can be up to 32 characters long and is case-sensitive.

STA Station – A computer that is equipped with a wireless LAN network adapter (see also wireless client). An STA can be stationary or mobile.

WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy – A form of data encryption.

wireless client – A personal computer equipped with a wireless LAN network adapter card.

WPA Wi-Fi Protected Access – Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2) is a specification of standards-based, interoperable security enhancements that strongly increase the level of data protection and access control for existing and future wireless LAN systems. Designed to run on existing hardware as a software upgrade, Wi-Fi Protected Access is based on the final IEEE 802.11i amendment to the IEEE 802.11 standard. WPA2 provides government grade security by implementing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS 140-2 compliant AES encryption algorithm. WPA2 is backwards compatible with WPAâ„¢.

WPA-PSK Wi-Fi Protected Access Preshared Key – A network authentication mode that does not use an authentication server. It can be used with WEP or TKIP data encryption types. WPA-PSK requires configuration of a preshared key (PSK). You must type a text phrase from 8 to 63 characters long, or a hexadecimal key 64 characters long for a preshared key 256 bits in length. The data encryption key is derived from the PSK.

WZC Wireless Zero Configuration Service – The Windows service that automatically configures IEEE 802.11 wireless network devices.

(source: Dell)

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