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What is HiperLAN?

By Adrem Siratt
Updated May 16, 2024
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High Performance Radio Local Area Network (HiperLAN) is one of the wireless networking protocols in Europe. It is an alternative to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standards. The HiperLAN standard was created by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The original goal of the HiperLAN standard was to create a protocol that featured a higher data transfer rate than the 802.11 standard.

The HiperLAN/1 protocol was approved in 1996. This version of the protocol features a range of 50 meters. The data transfer rate was 10 Megabits per second (Mbit/s), while the video transfer rate was 2 Mbit/s. This was a significant improvement over the competing 802.11 standard of the time, which featured a data transfer rate of only 2 Mbit/s.

The HiperLAN/2 protocol featured a maximum data transfer rate of 54 Mbit/s. This data transfer rate is comparable to the 802.11a standard's max transfer rate. The actual rate of transfer varies for these standards based on a number of variables.

HiperLAN/2 placed a high degree of emphasis on improving the quality of media-related transfers through the wireless connection. Wireless network protocols require a high degree of error checking compared to wired LAN connections. Increasing the level of error checking will increase the quality of media transmissions but also increase the latency. High Performance Radio LAN/2 focused on maximizing the error checking involved with media transmission at the cost of a slight increase in the latency experienced with media connections.

Another area that HiperLAN/2 took a different approach than 802.11 was in the type of security algorithms implemented. At this point, 802.11 was based around the insecure Wired Equivalent Policy (WEP) security system. High Performance Radio LAN/2 used the secure Data Encryption Standard (DES) or Triple DES security algorithms. This helped to ensure that information on the wireless network remained secure.

With the introduction of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2 security algorithms, the 802.11 standard has begun to rival the High Performance Radio LAN protocol in terms of security. This has made the issue of determining which protocol is best much more difficult. In terms of overall performance in data transfer, the two protocols are nearly equal. The High Performance Radio LAN protocol still has the advantage in quality of media transmissions.

The 802.11 standard has continued to develop and has integrated some of the underlying systems used in the High Performance Radio LAN protocol into its own protocol. This has led to the overall improvement of the 802.11 standard. As of September 2010, the development of the 802.11n standard has not been challenged by the development of another version of the HiperLAN protocol.

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