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IEEE 802.11n

The 802.11 family is a series of Wireless Local Area Network standards specified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It includes multiple physical layers as well as a common medium access. The first standard was ratified in 1997 and defined physical layers for infrared together with 2 spread spectrum methods in the 2.4 Ghz frequency band. 1999 the amendments 802.11a and 802.11b introduced Orthogonal-Frequency-Division-Multiplexing (OFDM) in the 5 GHz frequency band along with an improvement of the data rate in the 2.4 Ghz band. In 2003 OFDM was also specified for the 2.4 GHz band with 802.11g.

After a huge success of the previous standards, 802.11n was introduced in 2009 and brought a list of new features being:

  • up to 4x4 MIMO support
  • 40 MHz channel support
  • package aggregation
  • improvements of the block aknowledgement protocoll
  • usage of spatial diversity
  • usage of space-time-block-coding
These features allow 802.11n devices to reach a theoretical maximum data rate of 150 Mbps when using 1 antenna and 600 Mbps when utilizing 4x4 MIMO [1].