Rack of Ethernet switches.

Wireless LAN Specifications

Wireless Networking

Wireless Local-Area Networks, known as Wireless LAN or simply WLAN technology, provide network connections over microwave links typically around 2.4 and 5 GHz. Most of what is called WLAN today is based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards and marketed as Wi-Fi.

Another general family of wireless network technology is based on digital mobile telephony, carrying IP networking over the worldwide GSM internetwork. Look here for an example of GSM IP networking in Bulgaria, where in 2011 they had the third-fastest Internet service in the world.

WiFi and WiMax Characteristics

Standard Frequency Max data rate Spectrum sharing Modulation
802.11 (Wi-Fi) 802.11a 5.15-5.825 GHz
54 Mbps OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM
802.11b 2.4-2.5 GHz
11 Mbps DSSS CCK
802.11g 2.4-2.5 GHz
54 Mbps OFDM BPSK, QPSK, CCK
802.11n 2.4-2.5, 5.15-5.825 GHz 248 Mbps OFDM 64-QAM
802.11ac 5.15-5.825 GHz
88-867 Mbps OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM, 256-QAM
802.11ad 47-66 GHz
6.76 Gbps SC, OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM
802.11af 54-88, 470-596, 614-790 MHz
27-569 Mbps SC, OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM, 256-QAM
802.11ah 900 MHz
1-16 Mbps SC, OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM
Bluetooth 802.15.1 2.4-2.484 MHz 1-3 Mbps FHSS GFSK, DQPSK, 3DPSK
802.16 (WiMAX) 802.16d Licensed: 2.5, 3.5 GHz
Unlicensed: 5.2, 5.8 GHz
70 Mbps OFDM BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM
802.16e Various: 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, 5 GHz 70 Mbps SOFDMA BPSK, QPSK, 16-QAM, 64-QAM

The 802.11b/g channels are 22 MHz wide and spaced every 5 MHz with significant overlap.

Channels 1, 6 and 11 are used in the U.S. and similarly regulated nations, Channels 1, 5, 9 and 13 in Europe.

Channel 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Start 2.401 2.406 2.411 2.416 2.421 2.426 2.431 2.436 2.441 2.446 2.451 2.456 2.461 2.473
Center 2.412 2.417 2.422 2.427 2.432 2.437 2.442 2.447 2.452 2.457 2.462 2.467 2.472 2.484
End 2.423 2.428 2.433 2.438 2.443 2.448 2.453 2.458 2.463 2.468 2.473 2.478 2.483 2.495

At 5 GHz, devices in the US may operate at 5.250-5.350 GHz and 5.470-5.725 GHz. In Europe, 5.150-5.725 GHz is used.

Digital Mobile Telephone Specifications

System Band, MHz Uplink, MHz Downlink, MHz Channel Number Regions of Use
GSM 400 450 450.4 — 457.6 460.4 — 467.6 259 — 293 Tanzania
GSM 400 480 478.8 — 486.0 488.8 — 496.0 306 — 340 Tanzania
GSM 850 850 824.0 — 849.0 869.0 — 894.0 128 — 251 USA, Canada, many other countries in the Americas.
GSM 900
(P-GSM)
900 890.0 — 915.0 935.0 — 960.0 1 — 124 Europe, Middle East, Africa, most of Asia, Brazil, Falklands, St Pierre & Miquelon, some Caribbian countries
GSM 900
(E-GSM)
900 880.0 — 915.0 925.0 — 960.0 975 — 1023
(0, 1 — 124)
Europe, Middle East, Africa, most of Asia
GSM R
(R-GSM)
900 876.0 — 915.0 921.0 — 960.0 955 — 973
(0, 1 — 124,
975 — 1023)
Europe, Middle East, Africa, most of Asia
GSM 1800
(DCS 1800)
1800 1710.0 — 1785.0 1805.0 — 1880.0 512 — 885 Europe, Middle East, Africa, most of Asia, Brazil, Uruguay, some Caribbian countries
GSM 1900
(PCS 1900)
1900 1850.0 — 1910.0 1930.0 — 1990.0 512 — 810 USA, Canada, many other countries in the Americas.

Wireless Frequency and Encryption Specifications

Technology Frequency (US) Encryption
GPRS (2G) GSM 850/1900 MHz GEA2/GEA3/GEA4
EDGE (2G) GSM 850/1900 MHz A5/4, A5/3
UMTS (3G) HSDPA/USUPA 850/1700/1900 MHz USIM
LTE (4G) 700-2600 MHz SNOW stream cipher

Acronyms

OFDM Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing
SOFDMA Scalable Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access
BPSK Binary Phase-Shift Keying
QPSK Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying
QAM Quadrature Amplitude Modulation
CCK Complementary Code Keying
OpenBSD with Linksys WPC55AG 802.11a+g WLAN card, with Atheros chipset capable of 802.11i / WPA2 security.

OpenBSD notebook with Linksys WPC55AG WLAN card. Its Atheros chipset is capable of 802.11i/WPA2 security.

Soviet Багта-50 telephone interfaced to the GSM network.

A Soviet Багта-50 rotary-dial telephone from around 1955, which I have interfaced to the GSM network.


Other Pages

Kismet sniffing packets and detecting wireless activity.  Running in a BSD xterm window.

Kismet running in an OpenBSD xterm window, sniffing packets and observing wireless network activity at the Greyhouse coffeeshop in West Lafayette, Indiana. And yes, they really want you to use their WLAN, so you'll hang out there and buy more coffee.