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Unless you don’t know the precise wireless context or technology being addressed, your understanding of what wireless LAN entails may be different from mine — even though we’re engaging in the same discussion.
Forget about wireless personal area networks such as Wi-Fi, wireless WANs, and their respective network devices, however.
Even without these wireless network topologies, the primary heading of WLAN can be held clear. Let’s look, in particular, at the disparity between WLAN and Wi-Fi.
What is WLAN?
Using wired or wireless connections, computers may be connected to an organization’s internal computer network(LAN).
If physical cables such as CAT 6 are used to link computers, they are called wired networking, and the computers will form a Wired LAN.
Instead, if computers are linked to an internal LAN via wireless media, they are called wireless networking, and the computers will form a Wireless LAN.
What is WiFi?
Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the International non-profit group “Wi-Fi Alliance,” which supports wireless LAN access. Check out wireless LAN pros and cons.
It is formerly called WECA – the “Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance.” The Organization provides the Wi-Fi logo to wireless devices which have passed stringent testing to comply with IEEE 802.11 requirements.
Consumers will purchase Wi-Fi logo devices with the promise that their products can operate seamlessly with other Wi-Fi branded products made by different manufacturers worldwide.
Differences Between Wi-Fi and Wireless LAN
- Working protocols
Wireless local area networking, also known as WLAN or wireless LAN, is a term used for the use of wireless optical signals to link computers and other devices.
A local area network, or LAN, is any infrastructure that enables digital devices to converse with each other in a specific geographic area, or even inside a house.
Most LANs are often connected to a broader area network today, and also directly to the internet. A wireless LAN is any network that allows computers to converse with each other without needing to connect through wires.
Wi-Fi is 802.11 wireless protocol and nothing more. Through the years, we’ve seen various innovations of Wi-Fi, resulting in the new 802.11ax standard.
Every version of the 802.11 protocol is written for compliance with 802.3 Ethernet — the most common form of LAN — because Wi-Fi usually stretches the edge of the Network. Hence, Wi-FI is also a type of WLAN, but not the only one.
Access points ( APs) serve as Layer 2 bridges in business networks between 802.11 and 802.3 standards, and our home wireless routers have an AP built-in under the cap.
Since there is no universal form of WLAN, the coverage range of WLAN may differ depending on the type of WLAN technology used, be it Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or radio signals. In general, WLAN coverage can reach up to 5kms.
Wi-Fi, as we know, is used in small spaces like a home or an office building. The average coverage range of Wi-Fi is about 300 feet.
Are WLAN and Wi-Fi the Same Thing?
Wi-Fi and WLAN cannot be called the same thing. WLAN, as the name implies, is a set of devices connected wirelessly within a geographical radius.
WLAN can be of various types, such as Bluetooth, Radio, and WiFI. So it is safe to say that Wi-Fi is not exactly WLAN; Wi-Fi is a type of WLAN, but not the only type of WLAN.
Wi-Fi is not the only technology used for wireless LAN. The first is usually AlohaNet, developed in the 1970s for network computers at the University of Hawaii. Until then, several other Wi-Fi Standards have been established, but most Wi-Fi has been overshadowed.
Bluetooth is another widely used wireless technology, but it is typically used to build a paired connection between the two devices rather than to construct a more extensive network.
For laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, they do use wireless networking technologies to connect with towers for the internet, even though they typically do not form a LAN other than through local Wi-Fi.