A wireless LAN (or WLAN, for wireless local area network, sometimes referred to as LAWN, for local area wireless network) is one in which a mobile user can connect to a local area network (LAN) through a wireless (radio) connection. The IEEE 802.11 group of standards specify the technologies for wireless LANs. 802.11 standards use the Ethernet protocol and CSMA/CA (carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance) for path sharing and include an encryption method, the Wired Equivalent Privacy algorithm.

High-bandwidth allocation for wireless will make possible a relatively low-cost wiring of classrooms in the United States. A similar frequency allocation has been made in Europe. Hospitals and businesses are also expected to install wireless LAN systems where existing LANs are not already in place.