Much of the recent growth in wireless networks can be attributed to the adoption of the 802.11 standard, also known as "Wi-Fi". It is a standard for wireless communication that provides guidelines for the manufacture of networking hardware that ensures that networking communications protocols are
compatible across different manufacturers. For example, a wireless network card manufactured by 3Com will work with a wireless access point manufactured by Lucent. Adoption of this standard has allowed for a drop in the price of wireless hardware, and in turn, helped it to grow.
There are some other wireless network standards in use today such as "Bluetooth", which is intended for short-range communication between computers and peripherals, such as wireless phones, keyboards, mice, speakers, microphones, etc. The data rate of Bluetooth is presently 24 Mbit/s, considerably slower than most WiFi links. The Bluetooth protocol is much more energy efficient than WiFi. For this reason, Bluetooth tends to be used with small, battery-powered devices as a cord replacement rather than for Local Area Networking between computers.
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