IEEE created 802.11b in July 1999 and is generally considered to be a consumer friendly alternative to 802.11 and 802.11a which was being simultaneously developed.
It supports up to 11Mbps which is akin to the contemporary Ethernet product. The costs associated with an installation process are much cheaper and thus makes it more home friendly than 8011.a which is usually installed for businesses.
802.11b uses frequencies in an unregulated area of the wireless spectrum (2.4GHz) and thus is much more susceptible to radio interference from other devices on the network such as cordless phones and microwave ovens.
However, by installing 802.11b equipment a reasonable distance away from such devices this problem may be avoided.
Using this unregulated range of the wireless spectrum allows for producers and vendors to lower their production costs.Other than that downside, 802.11b boasts an excellent signal range and is not easily obstructed by objects such as brick walls.