In 1997, the IEEE ratified the 802.11 Wireless LAN standards, establishing a global standard for implementing and deploying Wireless LANS. The throughput for 802.11 is 2Mbps, which was well below the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet counterpart. Late in 1999, the IEEE ratified the 802.11b standard extension, which raised the throughput to 11 Mbps, making this extension more comparable to the wired equivalent. The 802.11b also supports the 2 Mbps data rate and operates on the 2.4GHz band in radio frequency for high-speed data communications.

As with any of the other 802 networking standards (Ethernet, Token Ring, etc.), the 802.11 specification affects the lower layers of the OSI reference model, the Physical and Data Link layers.

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