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The IEEE 802® LAN/MAN Standards Committee creates personal, local and metropolitan area network interface standards for evolving wired and wireless networking technologies. The standards developed by the Committee form the foundation for nearly all data communication systems and help ensure that packets are delivered reliably from a source to a destination. These standards apply to coaxial, copper and fiber optic cables, as well as to air interfaces for radio frequency transmission in personal area networks (PANs) having scales of 10 m, local area networks (LANs) having scales of 100 m, and municipal area networks (MANs) having scales of 1,000 m.

IEEE 802 standards are developed by more than 1,000 experts worldwide. The Committee has created over 50 IEEE 802 LAN/MAN standards, mainly for the lowest two layers of the seven layer network protocol stack known as the Reference Model for Open Systems Interconnection. Ten of these are major ISO/IEC/JTC1 8802 series equivalent standards and in use worldwide.

The committee functions within the IEEE-Standards Association* and is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society. It was formed in 1980 to develop wired LAN standards and has expanded greatly since then. IEEE 802 currently contains 10 working groups active in such areas as Ethernet, LANs, personal area networks, broadband wireless and resilient packet rings. A brief overview of these 10 groups appears below. For more information on the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee, see: http://www.ieee802.org.

The IEEE 802.1™ High Level Interface Working Group

This Working Group is concerned with overall IEEE 802 network management and architecture in such areas as internetworking among IEEE 802 LANs, MANs and other wide area networks. It is also concerned with higher level issues like addressing, security and advanced protocol layers. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/1/.

The IEEE 802.3™ Working Group for CSMA/CD (Ethernet) LANs

The Ethernet LAN standards developed by this Working Group began to appear in the early 1980s and have evolved dramatically since then. In the area of data rates, for example, this family of standards has progressed from 10 Mb/s to 10 Gb/s. For more information on this group, see: http://www.ieee802.org/3/.

The 802.11™ Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks

IEEE 802.11 standards support an air interface between and among radio-frequency wireless clients in LANs. The IEEE 802.11 group, which has been called Ethernet without wires, specifies wireless networks having a 50- to 150-ft. range in offices, warehouses, homes, lounges, colleges, hotels and elsewhere. It allows computers with wireless networking cards to share files, send e-mail and access the Internet. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/11/. The major segments of this Working Group include:

- IEEE 802.11a™, which defines wireless LANs (WLANs) having data rates to 54 Mb/s in the 5 GHz band. By operating outside of the crowded 2.4 GHz band, this standard reduces interference problems.

- IEEE 802.11b™, which provides for data rates to 11 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band. This standard has enabled the rapid growth seen in the WLAN industry.

- IEEE 802.11e™, which supports streaming audio and video for consumer products such as personal video recorders and voice-over-IP wireless telephones.

- IEEE 802.11g™, which allows for networks having data rates of 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band. They are a higher-speed, backward-compatible version of IEEE 802 11b.

- IEEE 802.11i™, which provides for wireless security for 802.11 WLANs.

The IEEE 802.15™ Working Group for Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)

IEEE 802.15 standards provide for low-complexity, low-power wireless connectivity for fixed and portable devices in personal operating spaces (within 10 m of a person). They address how devices like home theater components, personal computers, and personal multimedia appliances like PDAs and cell phones can coexist, communicate and interoperate. The proximity networks created under the standard enable devices to communicate when they are in range of each other, creating bubbles of wireless connectivity, and allow them to link to LANs and the Internet. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/15/. The major segments of this Working Group include:

- IEEE 802.15.1™, which resolves issues of interoperability, security and interference with other radio technologies. It was developed in cooperation with the Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

- IEEE P802.15.2™, which helps WPAN devices and WLAN devices coexist to aid developers of wireless toys, sensors, automation equipment and other products.

- IEEE P802.15.3™, which provides for high-rate (20Mbit/s or greater) WPANs, especially for multimedia applications such as video and audio streaming, printing and imaging.

- IEEE P802.15.4™, which provides for low-data-rates and extended battery life in sensors, interactive toys, smart badges, remote controls and other applications.

The IEEE 802.16 WirelessMAN™ Working Group for Broadband Wireless Access

This Working Group develops standards to support the global development of fixed broadband wireless access (BWA) in wireless municipal area networks. Standards published by the group so far, e.g., IEEE 802.16 and IEEE 802.16a, have created a foundation for the deployment of interoperable BWA. BWA can extend fiber optic networks rapidly and has become a preferred way to meet the growing demand for rapid Internet connection and integrated data, voice and video services. The group is working on extending its base standards to support mobile systems. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/16/.

The IEEE 802.17 Resilient Packet Ring Working Group

This Working Group has created a resilient packet ring (RPR) access protocol that transfers data packets at rates scalable to many gigabits per second for local, metropolitan and wide area networks. The standard enables the fiber optic rings widely deployed in metropolitan and wide area networks to carry more data with greater reliability, efficiency and economy. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/17/.

The IEEE 802.18™ Radio Regulatory Technical Advisory Group

This group supports all wireless IEEE 802 Working Groups by interfacing with government agencies and industry organizations that address regulatory issues. It monitors changes to radio rules and regulations that may affect IEEE 802 wireless standards and responds with comment documents. It also is the liaison to other standards bodies on radio regulatory. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/18/.

The IEEE 802.19™ Coexistence Technical Advisory Group

This group defines the responsibilities of IEEE 802 standards developers to address coexistence with existing IEEE 802 standards and other standards under development. It also develops coexistence documentation for the technical community outside IEEE 802.

IEEE 802.20™ Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Working Group

This group is developing an air-interface standard for mobile BWA systems that operate in licensed bands below 3.5 GHz. It is targeting peak data rates of over 1 Mb/s per user at vehicular speeds to 250 km/hour. For more information, see: http://www.ieee802.org/20/.

IEEE 802.21™ Working Group for Media Independent Handover and Interoperability

This group develops standards that enable handover and interoperability among heterogeneous network types, including 802 and non-802 networks.

- "The IEEE 802® LAN/MAN Standards Committee: Networking Standards For Advanced Telecommunications," The IEE Standards Association, 2005 http://standards.ieee.org/announcements/bkgnd_802stds.html

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Post Date: June 5, 2005 at 2:45 PM CDT; 1945 GMT

* The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body, develops consensus standards through an open process that brings diverse parts of an industry together. It has a portfolio of over 900 completed standards and more than 400 standards in development. It contains thousands of IEEE members worldwide who voluntarily participate in standards activities. For further information on IEEE-SA see: http://standards.ieee.org/.