WLAN vs Ethernet LAN | difference between WLAN and Ethernet LAN

This page on WLAN vs Ethernet LAN describes difference between WLAN and Ethernet LAN. This difference between WLAN(Wireless LAN) and Wired LAN is very useful to have comparison between them.

The figure-1 below depicts wlan or wireless LAN network. It operates on radio frequency 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz or both as per IEEE 802.11 specifications. There are various WLAN versions viz. 802.11a, 11b, 11g, 11n, 11ac and 11ad etc. Latest WLAN versions incorporate multiple antenna based MIMO techniques to provide support for higher data rates.Refer 11n vs 11ac vs 11ad and 11a vs 11b vs 11g vs 11n for more information.

wlan network

The figure-2 below depicts ethernet lan network. Refer Ethernet types such as ethernet, fast ethernet and gigabit ethernet.

Ethernet LAN network

Let us summarize core difference between wlan and ethernet LAN types.

WLAN Ethernet LAN
The WLAN devices are based on IEEE 802.11 family of standards. The Ethernet LAN devices are based on IEEE 802.3 standards.
WLAN devices use high energy radio frequency waves to transmit the data. Ethernet LAN devices use electric signals to transmit the data.
Radio frequency waves travel in the space. Hence a physical connection is not needed between the devices which are connected to the WLANs. Elctric signals flow over the cables. Hence wired connection is needed between devices which are connected to the Ethernet LANs.
WLAN uses half duplex mechanism for communication. Ethernet supports full duplex mechanism for communication when a switch connects using a single device rather than hub.
WLANs suffer from interference of various types during travel from source to the destination. LANs suffer less interference as electric signals travel using cables.
WLANs use CSMA/CA to avoid collisions in the network. Ethernet LANs use CSMA/CD to detect collisions in the network.
Refer WLAN tutorial Refer IEEE 802.3 ethernet standards

WLAN and Ethernet LAN Related Links

WLAN tutorial  About wlan   802.11 standards   11a WLAN PHY   11b PHY  11n PHY   WLAN 802.11ac   WLAN 802.11ad  Ethernet over copper  Ethernet Business  Gigabit Ethernet  40Gbps Ethernet PHY   100Gbps Ethernet PHY   10Gbps Ethernet PHY   Ethernet types  

What is Difference between

hub Vs switch  circuit switching Vs packet switching  firewall Vs router  HDLC Vs PPP  IGRP Vs EIGRP  router Vs bridge  switch Vs router  WLAN Vs Ethernet LAN  LAN vs WAN vs MAN 

RF and Wireless Terminologies