A Wireless LAN (WLAN) is a LAN that uses radio waves to transmit data between wireless devices. In a traditional LAN, devices are connected together using copper cabling. In some environments, installing copper cabling might not be practical, desirable, or even possible. In these situations, wireless devices are used to transmit and receive data using radio waves. As with LANs, on a WLAN you can share resources, such as files and printers, and access the Internet.

In a WLAN, wireless devices connect to access points within a specified area. Access points are typically connected to the network using copper cabling. Instead of providing copper cabling to every network host, only the wireless access point is connected to the network with copper cabling. The range (radius of coverage) for typical WLAN systems varies from under 98.4 ft (30 m) indoors to much greater distances outdoors, depending on the technology used.