Wirelesslan Network & Wireless Cards Driver

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Wireless and Network Drivers are specific to your operating system so if you change Operating Systems you must update your Network Drivers.Even without major changes, Wireless & Network Drivers update all the time and you should make sure you are always running the updated version. Install MediaTek 802.11n USB Wireless LAN Card driver for Windows 7 x64, or download DriverPack Solution software for automatic driver installation and update. The Dell Wireless WLAN Card works with any IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi CERTIFIED wireless router/AP or wireless client network adapter NOTE: Not all Dell Wireless WLAN Card models support IEEE 802.11a (5-GHz) or IEEE 802.11n operation.

A wireless LAN (or WLAN, for wireless local area network, sometimes referred to as LAWN, for local area wireless network) is one in which a mobile user can connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless (radio) connection.

Wireless LANs refer to LANs (Local Area Networks) that use high frequency radio waves instead of cables for connecting the devices. It can be conceived as a set of laptops and other wireless devices communicating by radio signals. Users connected by WLANs can move around within the area of network coverage. Most WLANs are based upon the standard IEEE 802.11 or WiFi.

Configuration of Wireless LANs

Each station in a Wireless LAN has a wireless network interface controller. A station can be of two categories −

  • Wireless Access Point (WAP) − WAPs or simply access points (AP) are generally wireless routers that form the base stations or access points. The APs are wired together using fiber or copper wires, through the distribution system.

  • Client − Clients are workstations, computers, laptops, printers, smart phones etc. They are around tens of metres within the range of an AP.

Types of WLAN Protocols

IEEE 802.11 or WiFi has a number of variations, the main among which are −

  • 802.11a Protocol− This protocol supports very high transmission speeds of 54Mbps. It has a high frequency of 5GHz range, due to which signals have difficulty in penetrating walls and other obstructions. It employs Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM).

  • 802.11b Protocol − This protocol operates within the frequency range of 2.4GHz and supports 11Mbps speed. It facilitates path sharing and is less vulnerable to obstructions. It uses Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA) with Ethernet protocol.

  • 802.11g Protocol − This protocol combines the features of 802.11a and 802.11b protocols. It supports both the frequency ranges 5GHz (as in 802.11a standard) and 2.4GHz (as in 802.11b standard). Owing to its dual features, 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b devices. 802.11g provides high speeds, varying signal range, and resilience to obstruction. However, it is more expensive for implementation.

  • 802.11n Protocol − Popularly known as Wireless N, this is an upgraded version of 802.11g. It provides very high bandwidth up to 600Mbps and provides signal coverage. It uses Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO), having multiple antennas at both the transmitter end and receiver ends. In case of signal obstructions, alternative routes are used. However, the implementation is highly expensive.

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.


A wireless local area network (WLAN) is a local areanetwork (LAN) that doesn't rely on wired Ethernetconnections. A WLAN can be either an extension to a current wirednetwork or an alternative to it.

WLANs have data transfer speeds ranging from 1 to 54Mbps, with somemanufacturers offering proprietary 108Mbps solutions. The 802.11nstandard can reach 300 to 600Mbps.

Because the wireless signal is broadcast so everybody nearby canshare it, several security precautions are necessary to ensure onlyauthorized users can access your WLAN.

A WLAN signal can be broadcast to cover an area ranging in sizefrom a small office to a large campus. Most commonly, a WLAN accesspoint provides access within a radius of 65 to 300 feet.

Wirelesslan Network & Wireless Cards Driver

WLAN types

Private home or small business WLAN

Commonly, a home or business WLAN employs one or two access pointsto broadcast a signal around a 100- to 200-foot radius. You can findequipment for installing a home WLAN in many retail stores.

With few exceptions, hardware in this category subscribes to the802.11a, b, or g standards (also known as Wi-Fi); some homeand office WLANs now adhere to the new 802.11n standard. Also, becauseof security concerns, many home and office WLANs adhere to the Wi-FiProtected Access 2 (WPA2) standard.

Enterprise class WLAN

An enterprise class WLAN employs a large number of individualaccess points to broadcast the signal to a wide area. The accesspoints have more features than home or small office WLAN equipment,such as better security, authentication, remote management,and tools to help integrate with existing networks. These accesspoints have a larger coverage area than home or small officeequipment, and are designed to work together to cover a much largerarea. This equipment can adhere to the 802.11a, b, g, or n standard,or to security-refining standards, such as 802.1x and WPA2.

WLAN standards

Several standards for WLAN hardware exist:

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WLAN standardProsCons
  • Faster data transfer rates (up to 54Mbps)
  • Supports more simultaneous connections
  • Less susceptible to interference
  • Short range (60-100 feet)
  • Less able to penetrate physical barriers
  • Better at penetrating physical barriers
  • Longest range (70-150 feet)
  • Hardware is usually less expensive
  • Slower data transfer rates (up to 11Mbps)
  • Doesn't support as many simultaneous connections
  • More susceptible to interference
  • Faster data transfer rates (up to 54Mbps)
  • Better range than 802.11b (65-120 feet)
  • More susceptible to interference
The 802.11n standard was recently ratified by theInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), as compared to theprevious three standards. Though specifications may change, it isexpected to allow data transfer rates up to 600Mbps, and may offerlarger ranges.

Security standards

The 802.11x standards provide some basic security, but are becomingless adequate as use of wireless networking spreads. Following aresecurity standards that extend or replace the basic standard:

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)

WEP encrypts data traffic between the wireless access point and theclient computer, but doesn't actually secure either end of thetransmission. WEP's encryption level is relatively weak (only 40 to128 bits). Many analysts consider WEP security to be weakand easy to crack.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)

WPA implements higher security and addresses the flaws in WEP, butis intended to be only an intermediate measure until further 802.11isecurity measures are developed.


This standard is part of a full WPA security standard. WPA consistsof a pair of smaller standards that address different aspects ofsecurity:

  • TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol encryption), which encryptsthe wireless signal
  • 802.1x, which handles the authentication of users to the network
Wirelesslan Network & Wireless Cards Driver

Commonly, wireless systems have you log into individual wirelessaccess points or let you access the wireless network, but then keepyou from accessing network data until you provide furtherauthentication (e.g., VPN).

802.1x makes you authenticate to the wireless network itself, notan individual access point, and not to some other level, such asVPN. This boosts security, because unauthorized traffic can be deniedright at the wireless access point.


The Wi-Fi Alliances coinedthe term 'WPA2' for easy use by manufacturers, technicians, and endusers. However, the IEEE name of the standard itself is802.11i. The encryption level is so high that it requires dedicatedchips on the hardware to handle it.

In practical use, WPA2 devices have interoperability with WPAdevices. When not interfacing with older WPA hardware, WPA2 deviceswill run strictly by the 802.11i specifications.

WPA2 consists of a pair of smaller standards that address differentaspects of security:

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  • WPA2-Personal, which uses a pre-shared key (similar to a single password available to groups of users, instead of a single individual); the pre-shared key is stored on the access point and the end user's computer
  • WPA2-Enterprise, which authenticates users against a centralizedauthentication service

Wireless Lan Network Adapter

IU Secure, the new IU wireless network for students,faculty, and staff, uses WPA2 Enterprise for authentication.

Wireless Lan Network Setup

The information in this document was adapted from the Wireless LAN Association web page.