What is Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)?

WLAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network. WLAN is a wireless network that allows devices to associate and communicate wirelessly. Just like a traditional wired LAN in which the device transmits over Ethernet cables, the devices using the WLAN transmit through WiFi.

Mobile users can connect to a WLAN through wireless connection. The IEEE 802.11 group of standards describe the technologies for LANs.

Though WLAN looks dissimilar to the traditional LAN, it works in the same way.

  • First, new devices are configured with the help of DHCP.

  • Then, they can connect with other devices on the network in the same manner they would work on a wired network.

  • The main difference is how the data is passed on. In LAN, data is transferred through physical cables in a series of Ethernet packets. However, in WLAN, packets are transferred across the air.

Wireless routers provide wireless connection to the devices whose WiFi are ON and in the range of the router’s signal. Devices can be laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other wireless devices.

Also, wireless routers frequently connect to the cable modem or the devices to connect to the Internet easily.

Advantages of WLAN

  • The primary advantage of using a WLAN is that it requires no cables to connect the devices. It's extremely easy to establish a connection.

  • Wireless connections help businesses and homes to generate local networks without using cables over the buildings using Ethernet.

  • You can also connect small electronic gadgets like smartphones and tablets to the network.

  • There is no limit to WLANs. It supports hundreds and thousands of devices.

  • You can increase the range of the WLAN by the addition of one or more repeaters.

  • WLAN can be easily updated by restoring new versions, which is simpler and inexpensive than upgrading the old Ethernet cables.

Disadvantages of WLANs

  • When it comes to security, wireless networks are less safe than wired networks. Any device can connect to the WLAN, so it is important to limit the connection to any network.

  • The limiting of data sharing to other networks is done using wireless identification like WEP or WPA, which encode the transmission.

  • Furthermore, wireless is more vulnerable to interference from other physical barriers like the solid wall.

  • For government networks and many enterprises, LANs are used to provide good performance and safety.

Do not confuse WLAN with WAN, as WAN stands for Wide Area Network.