IEEE 802 is a family of protocols developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to define local area and metropolitan area networks. A protocol is like a blueprint for a network, including things such as how the various devices are connected and how signals are transmitted between them. At least one of the IEEE 802 protocols deals with personal area networks. Many of the protocols are not in use, and some are still in working group stage and thus are not yet fully defined as of November 2010.
IEEE 802.1 is a protocol currently in working group status. It is concerned with network management, communication between networks, and network security. 802.1 serves as a framework for other protocols.
IEEE 802.3 is more commonly known as "Ethernet". It is mostly used for local area networks or LANs. The protocol also has dozens of sub-protocol variations.
IEEE 802.8 was a working group concerned with designing a fibre optic LAN. This protocol was never adopted and the working group has been disbanded.
IEEE 802.11 is the protocol commonly used for wireless networking. Variants include 802.8g ("wireless-g") and 802.8n ("wireless-n").
IEEE 802.15 is a protocol defined for personal area network (usually meaning a network between only two devices). 802.15.1 is commonly known as Bluetooth. Other sub-protocols are still in working groups.