How WLAN Works? You have definitely come to the right place, if you are interested to find out. Go through this WLAN tutorial and see the basic stuff about the WLAN technology.

How WLAN Works?

WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network is a wireless network that works on two frequency bands – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. More popular name for the WLAN is WiFi. About the WiFi and WLAN and is there a difference you can read on what is WiFi.

The frequency, speed of data transfer and range of the wireless network depends on which WLAN signal is applied. There are five generations of WiFi. All generations belong to the 802.11 family. Review of all five WiFi generations you can find on what does WLAN stand for.

WLAN Tutorial and the Five Stages in the WiFi Network

WiFi client is going through the five stages:

  1. Scanning
  2. Joining
  3. Authentication
  4. Association
  5. Reassociaton


The scanning is the process of finding the WiFi network. Classical wired networks use cables for the interconnection. In the wireless network, the first thing you need to do is to to identify the appropriate network. WiFi clients use the scanning to find existing networks in the area. After scanning, the client can choose to join one of the available wireless networks.

There are two basic types of wireless networks:

  • BSS – Basic Service Set
  • ESS – Extended Service Set

BSS is a wireless network with only one access point. ESS – Extended Service Set is a larger network made of access points that are connected to the wired network device – a router.


Joining does not guarantee the network access. It is only the first step for the client to be connected to the WLAN network. After joining, the client also needs to pass the authentication and associate stage.

The client can connect to the BSS in two ways:

  • Manually
  • Automatically

In the manual joining the client chooses the BSS manually. In the automatic joining wireless client picks the best access point according to a power level and signal strength.
In the both cases, parameters configured on wireless client and access point, need to match.


In wireless networks, you don’t need the physical access to the network. You only need to be within the range. Wireless authentication is the security method in the wireless networks. More about the wireless authentication and authentication types read on wireless authentication.


Association is the process that enables the client the actual access to the WLAN network. It is the same like plugging the cable into the wired network. It is not possible to be associated in more than one access point.


The association can occur only in the ESS wireless network. The client, in this case, associates to the other access point in the same ESS. It is triggered when the client detects that the other access point have a stronger wireless signal.

To get better understanding of how WLAN works, read about basic element of every WLAN network on WLAN formation.

More about how WLAN works you can read also in the Wireless LAN and in the WiFi technology.

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