search the site
did you know?
- If you need help after following the setup instructions on this website, you can attend one of ITS' free NYURoam Wireless Workshops for hands-on help. To register, visit the ITS Classes pages.
802.11 refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN technology. 802.11 specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless client and a base station or between two wireless clients. The IEEE accepted the specification in 1997. There are several specifications in the 802.11 family:
- 802.11: Applies to wireless LANs and provides 1 or 2 Mbps transmission in the 2.4 GHz band using either frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) or direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).
- 802.11a: An extension to 802.11 that applies to wireless LANs and provides up to 54 Mbps in the 5GHz band. 802.11a uses an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing encoding scheme rather than FHSS or DSSS.
- 802.11b: An extension to 802.11 that applies to wireless LANS and provides 11 Mbps transmission (with a fallback to 5.5, 2 and 1 Mbps) in the 2.4 GHz band. 802.11b uses only DSSS. 802.11b was a 1999 ratification to the original 802.11 standard, allowing wireless functionality comparable to Ethernet.
- 802.11g: Applies to wireless LANs and provides 20+ Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
AP (Access Point)
A hardware device that acts as a communication hub for users of a wireless device to connect to a wired LAN. APs are important for providing heightened wireless security and for extending the physical range of service a wireless user has access to.
NOTE: The NYURoam wireless network is not publicly available and must be manually configured with your wireless adapter. If you do see NYUROAM[1,2,3] or NYU-ROAM[1,2,3] publicly while you have not configured your computer for NYURoam, then these may not be official NYURoam Access Points. We cannot offer any guarantee of service or performance while using non-NYU Access Points. Public access may be available by accident from the owner of such an access point, or deliberately from malicious users who may be attempting to capture your personal information such as passwords, credit cards, social security numbers, or other private or confidential information.
BSS (Basic Service Set)
One wireless access point connected to a wired network and a set of wireless stations.
A program that controls a device. Every device, whether it be a printer, disk drive, or keyboard, must have a driver program. Many drivers, such as the keyboard driver, come with the operating system. For other devices, you may need to load a new driver when you connect the device to your computer. A driver acts like a translator between the device and programs that use the device. Each device has its own set of specialized commands that only its driver knows.
The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Unencrypted data is called plain text; encrypted data is referred to as cipher text.
A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from your computer. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private computers connected to the Internet. All messages entering or leaving the computer passes through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria. The most popular firewall programs are Norton, McAfee, and ZoneAlarm.
IP (Internet Protocol) Address
IP specifies the format of packets, also called datagrams, and the addressing scheme. IP by itself is something like the postal system. It allows you to address a package and drop it in the system, but there's no direct link between you and the recipient.
A piece of a message transmitted over a packet-switching network. One of the key features of a packet is that it contains the destination address in addition to the data. In IP networks, packets are also often called datagrams.
IEEE 802.11b/g Standard
The Wireless standard established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world's largest technical professional society, based in the USA. The letter attached (b or g) indicates which standard the device adheres to. For more information, see 802.11.
LAN (Local Area Network)
A computer network that spans a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. LANs are capable of transmitting data at very fast rates, much faster than data can be transmitted over a telephone line; however, the distances are limited, as are the number of computers that can be attached to a single LAN.
LEAP (Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol)
Provides server and client authentication via a user-supplied logon password. Supported on all current versions of Windows, Macintosh OS, Linux, and MS-DOS.
NAT (Network Address Translation)
An Internet standard that enables a local-area network (LAN) to use one set of IP addresses for internal traffic and a second set of addresses for external traffic.
NIC (Network Interface Card)
An expansion board (printed circuit board) you insert into a computer so the computer can be connected to a network.
See PCMCIA, below.
PCMCIA stands for "Personal Computer Memory Card International Association," an organization which established a standard for small, credit card-sized devices (called PC or PCMCIA cards) that can be plugged into a notebook computer to add memory or capabilities. A PCMCIA slot is located on a notebook computer to receive the card.
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
A small hand-held computer typically providing calendar, contacts, and note-taking applications that may also include other applications, such as a web browser and media player. Small keyboards and pen-based input systems are most commonly used for user input.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect)
A local "bus" (wires through which data is transmitted from one part of a computer to another) standard for connecting peripherals to a personal computer, designed by Intel and released in 1993.
A connector on Peripheral Component Interconnect (see above) and the associated physical space occupied by the installed PCI card.
A software update service is used for downloading critical system component updates, service packs, security fixes/patches and free upgrades to selected components on Windows and/or Macintosh OS operating systems. Additionally, it automatically detects your hardware and provides driver updates when available, and can offer beta versions of some Microsoft programs.
A portion of a network that shares a common IP address component. Dividing a network into subnets is useful for both security and performance reasons.
SSID (Service Set ID)
Short for Service Set Identifier, a 32-character unique identifier attached to the header of packets sent over a WLAN that acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect to the Basic Service Set.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Protocol
A Protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL works by using a public key to encrypt data that's transferred over the SSL connection.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
The use of encryption in the lower protocol layers to provide a secure connection through an otherwise insecure network. VPNs rely on having the same encryption system at both ends. The encryption may be performed by firewall software or by routers.
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
Short for Wired Equivalent Privacy, a security protocol for wireless local area networks (WLANs) defined in the 802.11b standard. WEP is designed to provide the same level of security as that of a wired LAN. WEP aims to provide security by encrypting data over radio waves so that it is protected as it is transmitted from one end point to another. However, it has been found that WEP is not as secure as once believed.
WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network)
Also referred to as LAWN. A type of local-area network (see LAN, above) that uses high-frequency radio waves rather than wires to communicate between nodes.
Page last reviewed: March 14, 2007