Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) technologies have recently take off technologically and commercially. From the first corporate WLAN standards 802.11 to the personal area networks built with Bluetooth technology and using the very high bit rate HiperLAN, radio technologies are emerging in various user domains (commercial and public enterprise, personal networks etc). Initially designed for computer science and telecom applications, these technologies are being integrated into mass market terminals (mobile phones, audio-visual terminals) and make possible naturally communicating support adapted to the needs of communicating objects: high rates, multi-terminal connectivity, data and voice support, with range relatively restricted, manageable power consumption and easy integration. Use can then be developed in this kind of domain, probably in surprising and unexpected applications, and as such the potential in terms of communicating services is huge.
In this contribution, we concentrate on the description of WLAN standards in order to position them with respect to others in terms of technology and maturity. Then, after a positioning, we introduce generalities to be considered for technology design and describe more precisely mechanisms of 802.11 and HiperLAN/2 standards. In order to complete this state of the art review, technological options of Bluetooth standard are finally considered in the last section.