802.11 is a set of standards for wireless communications, for example 802.11a and 802.11n are both wireless networking standards.
IEEE 802.11 is part of the IEEE 802 set of local area network (LAN) technical standards, and specifies the set of media access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) protocols for implementing wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communication. The standard and amendments provide the basis for wireless network products using the Wi-Fi brand and are the world's most widely used wireless computer networking standards. IEEE 802.11 is used in most home and office networks to allow laptops, printers, smartphones, and other devices to communicate with each other and access the Internet without connecting wires.
The standards are created and maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802). The base version of the standard was released in 1997 and has had subsequent amendments. While each amendment is officially revoked when it is incorporated in the latest version of the standard, the corporate world tends to market to the revisions because they concisely denote the capabilities of their products. As a result, in the marketplace, each revision tends to become its own standard.
IEEE 802.11 uses various frequencies including, but not limited to, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz, and 60 GHz frequency bands. Although IEEE 802.11 specifications list channels that might be used, the radio frequency spectrum availability allowed varies significantly by regulatory domain.
The protocols are typically used in conjunction with IEEE 802.2, and are designed to interwork seamlessly with Ethernet, and are very often used to carry Internet Protocol traffic.