Wireless Mode

The wireless mode refers to setting the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard that the network will use. There are four amendments to the IEEE 802.11 standard that describe different characteristics for wireless communications; they are 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. Figure 1 lists more information about each standard.

Most integrated wireless routers support 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. The three technologies are compatible, but all devices on the network must operate at the same standard common to all devices. For example: If an 802.11n router is connected to a laptop with 802.11n, the network would function as an 802.11n standard. However, add an 802.11b wireless printer to the network. Both the router and the laptop will revert to using the slower 802.11b standard for all communications. Therefore, keeping older wireless devices on the network will make the entire network slow down. It is important to keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to keep older wireless devices.

Service Set Identifier (SSID)

There may be many other wireless networks in your area. It is important that the wireless devices connect to the correct WLAN. This is done using a Service Set Identifier (SSID).

The SSID is a case-sensitive, alpha-numeric name for your home wireless network. The name can be up to 32-characters in length. The SSID is used to tell wireless devices which WLAN they belong to and with which other devices they can communicate. Regardless of the type of WLAN installation, all wireless devices in a WLAN must be configured with the same SSID in order to communicate.

Wireless Channel

Channels are created by dividing up the available RF spectrum. Each channel is capable of carrying a different conversation. This is similar to the way that multiple television channels are transmitted across a single medium. Multiple APs can function in close proximity to one another as long as they use different channels for communication.