What is a WLAN Driver?

A wireless local area network (WLAN) driver is a software program that allows a computer to run and configure a WLAN device. WLAN devices include routers, wireless cards, and wireless Internet adapters. These devices constitute the hardware needed to transmit a wireless network signal and connect computers to the signal. Users can use a WLAN driver to change Internet connection settings or configure wireless settings on a laptop or personal computer.

A WLAN driver allows a computer to configure a router or other WLAN device.

Wireless cards and wireless Internet adapters allow computers to connect to wireless signals. Typically, a wireless card is installed in the computer while a wireless Internet adapter connects to a computer through a Universal Serial Bus (USB) plug. Wireless routers transmit a wireless signal and usually provide a wireless hub that allows multiple hubs to connect to the Internet. Companies that manufacture WLAN devices that may require operating drivers include ASUS™, Belkin™, Linksys™, D-Link™ and Netgear™.

A WLAN adapter is a hardware unit for a computer that allows it to become part of a wireless network.

Local Area Networks (LAN) can be wired or wireless. In a LAN, a network hub connects multiple computers, allowing them to share data. Typically, these networks are based in a centralized location, with all LAN-connected computers located nearby. Most wireless networking hubs handle wired and wireless connections to multiple computers. On a LAN router, the WLAN driver is important because it allows the network administrator to configure security settings, user permissions and passwords.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISP) prevent users from connecting more than one computer to the Internet by preventing multiple computer identification numbers, called media access control (MAC) addresses, from connecting to the service. Many WLAN driver utility programs allow the user to configure a media access control (MAC) address clone that bypasses blocking to allow multiple computers to connect. The MAC address clone setup configures a WLAN access point so that it broadcasts only one MAC address to the ISP, no matter how many computers connect through the router. To the ISP, it looks like a computer is connecting to the service.

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A WLAN driver disk is usually included with wireless networking hardware when it is purchased. For some common wireless devices, the WLAN driver may already be installed with your computer’s operating system. If the driver disk is lost or the software is corrupted, WLAN driver updates or replacement downloads can be found in the driver downloads section of the manufacturer’s website, usually in the dedicated customer support section.

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