Definition: 802.11 is the generic name of a family of standards for wireless networking. The numbering system for 802.11 comes from the IEEE, who uses “802” for many networking standards like Ethernet (802.3).
802.11 standards define rules for communication on wireless local area networks (WLANs). Popular 802.11 standards include 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. 802.11 was the original standard in this family, ratified in 1997. 802.11 defined WLANs that operate at 1-2 Mbps. This standard is obsolete today.
Each extension to the original 802.11 appends a unique letter to the name. While 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g are the most interesting to the average consumer, many other extensions exist or are in development.