WLAN is the acronym for Wireless Local Area Network. It is a network or a hub that connects multiple computers in a limited area such as school, office building, or residential building. LAN can be either wired or wireless. There are many WLAN devices such as routers, wireless internet adapters or wireless cards. Wireless internet adapters and wireless cards enable the computers to connect to wireless signals. A wireless card is installed in the computer, whereas, a wireless Internet adapter connects to a computer through a USB (Universal Serial Bus) plug. Wireless routers broadcast wireless signals and often provide a wireless hub. This enables multiple computers to connect to the Internet. Leading manufacturers of WLAN devices include ASUS™, Linksys™, D-Link™, Trendnet™, and Netgear™.
WLAN technology has been specifically designed to connect devices without wiring. WLAN uses the spread-spectrum technology based on radio waves to enable communication in a limited area between two or more devices. This allows the users to remain connected within a specific coverage area. Originally WLAN hardware was very expensive. It was only used as an alternative to wired LAN. It was utilized in remote places where wiring was difficult or impossible. Nowadays, with the growing popularity of Wi-Fi devices such as tablets, phones, laptops and televisions, WLAN has become very popular. Many coffee shops and shopping malls offer free Wi-Fi to their customers to promote their business.
A software program that enables a computer to run and configure a WLAN device is known as WLAN driver.
A WLAN driver disk is usually provided along with the wireless networking hardware at the time of purchase. For specific wireless devices, WLAN drivers come pre-installed with the operating system. Besides, WLAN drivers can be easily downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
Some Internet Service Providers (ISP) restricts users from connecting more than one computer to the Internet. This is done by preventing multiple computer identification numbers called Media Access Control (MAC) addresses utilized for internet connectivity. Many WLAN driver utility programs allow the users to set up a Media Access Control (MAC) address. Later clones are used to connect multiple terminals. The MAC address clone setting configures a WLAN access point so that it broadcasts only one Media Access Control address to the Internet Service Provider irrespective of the number of computers connected through the router.