I learnt some information about networks in Wiki,and I am so curious about naming IEEE standard networks. As far as I know:

The standard name of Wifi is 802

The standard name of Ethernet is 802.3

The standard name of Wireless LAN is 802.11,and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac after 802.11

I want to ask

  1. Why do we always use the "802" to name the standard network? Why do we insist on using these three numbers,instead of other number like "123","456" ,or "789" these three numbers?

  2. Why did we name standard name of Ethernet 802.3? Why don't we name it 802.2,or 802.9,is that .3 means the ethernet is the "third" standard network we discuss?or?

  3. 802.11ac is faster than 802.11n,

    802.11n is faster than 802.11g,

    802.11g is faster than 802.11b,

    so 802.11a/b/g/n/ac is like the evolution of 802.11, I want to ask why should we use "a,b,g,n and ac" to describe the evolution of 802.11? why don't we just use a,b,c,d,e,f to describe the evolution of 802.11? Easiser to remember and determine which is faster.

  • 3
    This is historical trivia. (and you appear to have put zero effort into researching it.)
    – Ricky
    Jun 27, 2020 at 8:09
  • because no book and wiki explain why
    – Shine Sun
    Jun 27, 2020 at 12:51
  • 1
    See the above linked question and its answers.
    – Ron Maupin
    Jun 27, 2020 at 16:37
  • Actually, 802.11a is much faster than 802.11b, and it was defined first.
    – Ron Maupin
    Jun 27, 2020 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


IEEE organize their work into working groups or committees, one of which is P802 for LAN/MAN technologies. 802 was simply the next available number when that group was formed, although they first met in February 1980.

These form working groups for more specific topics such as 802.3 for Ethernet, 802.11 for wireless LAN, or 802.1 for higher-layer LAN protocols (spanning tree, link aggregation, VLAN, ...).

Projects or study groups then get successive letter codes a-z, aa-az, ba-bz, etc, like 802.3ab for 1000BASE-T (1000 Mbit/s Ethernet over twisted pair copper). Each of these projects define a standard or an addendum of the same name. Of course, not all of them are new physical layer variants.

Later standards often define faster versions than previous ones, but that is not always the case (e.g. 802.3bw-2015 100BASE-T1 came much later than 802.3an-2006 10GBASE-T).

Basically, you'll have to look up or remember what each letter code means.

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