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Introduction to Wireless Networking

ECE 477
Spring 2016

Lecture 3: Wireless LANs and IEEE 802.11 Part I


Now we study a significant new area of wireless communications over the past 10 years
Wireless Local Area Networks.
Chapter 11 Wireless LAN Technology and the IEEE 802.11
Wireless LAN Standard
I. Overview
WLANs are an indispensable adjunct to traditional wired LANs.
Satisfy requirements for
Mobility
Easy workstation relocation
Ad hoc networking
Coverage of locations difficult to wire.
Until a few years ago, however, WLANs were little used.
High prices
Low data rates
Occupational safety concerns.
Licensing requirements.
Products were produced since the late 1980s, however.
To be substitutes for traditional wired LANs.
- Less costly installation than LAN cabling.
- Ease of relocation.
But architects designed new buildings with extensive LAN wiring
already built in.
Buildings already wired for LANs had little reason to switch to
wireless.
So, use of WLANs to replace wired LANs did not happen to any
great extent, until laptops and wireless devices proliferated.
- Bit rates were still much lower.
- Coverage could still be uneven.
In office buildings, WLANs still mainly serve as alternatives or
enhancements to networks already present.
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Application Areas of WLANs


LAN Extension
In many buildings, a wired LAN will already likely exist.
- But wireless extends the range and mobility.
- Hence, the term LAN extension.
WLANs are especially useful in special environments. What are
examples?

Buildings with large open spaces.


Manufacturing plants.
Stock exchange trading floors.
Warehouses
Small offices
Conference Rooms
Home offices
Outdoors (courtyards, parks, etc.)
WLANs are now also very useful for smartphones instead of using
cellular minutes.

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Sample single-cell WLAN configuration

- A Control Module (CM) acts as an interface to the WLAN.


- User Modules (UMs) can be used to connect to other wired
facilities.
- The CM connects to a larger Ethernet.
- And wirelessly connects workstations and smaller wired LANs.
- This is a single-cell WLAN
- All systems are within range of a single CM.
Sample multiple-cell WLAN configuration

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- Multiple control modules are connected by a wired LAN.


- What challenges are involved in getting optimal performance in
such a multi-CM configuration?

Connecting to the best CM, even


if several are in range.
Handing off to another when
moving without interruption.
Making sure CMs do not
interfere.
Load balancing avoid one CM
overloaded, use bandwidth most
wisely.
Nomadic Access
Laptops can move freely.

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Ad Hoc Networking

A peer-to-peer network.
- No centralized controller.
In "ad hoc networks" devices talk to whatever other devices they
can talk to.
- From a dictionary: Ad hoc = Formed for or concerned with
one specific purpose (usually also considered temporary).
- Networks of devices that are all peers and talk to whoever is near
enough.
- Examples:
- A set of computers that talk to each other during a meeting.
- Devices that share files, e-mails, calendars, etc. when in range.
- As devices move, they change their connections with other
devices.
- May send data through a sequence of neighbors to reach an end
destination.
Wireless LAN Requirements
Throughput
Make as efficient use as possible of the wireless medium.
Provide data rates fast enough to not hinder users.
- Make the network invisible.

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Number of nodes
May need to support hundreds of nodes across multiple cells.
Difficult scenarios:
Many users in a lecture halls, several
smartphones watching videos.
Connection to a backbone LAN to the Internet
Service area
Diameter of 100 to 300 meters
Battery power consumption
Do not require battery-powered workstations to constantly transmit.
- No constant monitoring of CMs.
- No frequent handshakes or keepalives.
Allow workstations to not use transmission power when not using
the network.
Transmission robustness and security
Prevent problems with interference.
Prevent eavesdropping and many other possible security problems.
Since operated by end-users, make configuration easy.
- So that users do not inadvertently leave security features turned
off.
Collocated network operation
Allow two or more WLANs to operate in the same area.
License-free operation
Do not need to buy licenses to operate.
Handoff/roaming
Enable mobile stations to move from one cell to another.
Dynamic configuration
Permit addition, deletion, and relocation of end systems.
In a dynamic or automatic way.
Without disruption to end users.

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The following diagram provides a useful illustration to compare wired,


wireless, and mobile data networks.

Wireless LAN Physical Layer Technology


Spread Spectrum
Method allowed when using unlicensed frequency bands.
Spreads a signal across a wide bandwidth.
- But not very strong at any one frequency.
- Allows many uncoordinated sources to use the same bandwidth.
CDMA and OFDM are used.

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II. The IEEE 802 Architecture


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
A technical, professional, and student society.
Publishes many journals and magazines.
Also has developed a few technical standards.
Most notably Local Area Network standards.
Ethernet (802.3) and others.
802.11 is the working group for Wireless LANs
Created by the IEEE LAN /MAN Standards Committee (LMSC)
Started in 1980
Working Groups (those of most interest to us in bold)1
802.1 Higher Layer LAN Protocols Working Group (active)
802.2 Logical Link Control (LLC) Working Group (inactive)
802.3 Ethernet Group (active) standard for wired LANs
802.4 Token Bus Working Group (disbanded)
802.5 Token Ring Working Group (inactive)
802.6 Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) Working Group (disbanded)
802.7 BroadBand Technical Adv. Group (BBTAG) (disbanded)
802.8 Fiber Optic Technical Adv. Group (FOTAG) (disbanded)
802.9 Integrated Services LAN (ISLAN) Working Group (disbanded)
802.10 Standard for Interoperable LAN Security (SILS) Working Group
(disbanded)
** 802.11 Wireless LAN (WLAN) Working Group (active)
802.12 Demand Priority Working Group (disbanded)
802.14 Cable Modem Working Group Working Group (disbanded)
** 802.15 Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) Working Group (active)
Personal Area Networks or short distance wireless networks for devices
such as PCs, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), peripherals, cell phones,
pagers, and consumer electronics
802.16 Broadband Wireless Access (BBWA) Working Group (active)
Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks

http://www.ieee802.org/dots.shtml

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802.17 Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) (hibernating)


Resilient Packet Ring fiber optic networks in Local, Metropolitan,
and Wide Area Networks for resilient and efficient transfer of data
packets at rates scalable to many gigabits per second.
802.18 Radio Regulatory Technical Advisory Group (active)
Monitoring of, and active participation in, ongoing radio regulatory
activities, at both the national and international levels.
802.19 Coexistence Technical Advisory Group (active)
Define the responsibilities of 802 standards developers to address issues of
coexistence with existing standards and other standards under
development.
802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Working Group (hibernating)
Efficient packet based air interface that is optimized for the transport
of IP based services. Specification of physical and medium access
control layers operating in licensed bands below 3.5 GHz, optimized
for IP-data transport, with peak data rates per user in excess of 1
Mbps for various vehicular mobility classes up to 250 Km/h in a
MAN environment.
802.21 Media Independent Handoff Working Group (active)
Enable handover and interoperability between heterogeneous network
types including both 802 and non 802 networks.
802.22 Wireless Regional Area Networks (active)
Develop a standard for a cognitive radio-based PHY/MAC/airinterface for
use by license-exempt devices on a non-interfering basis in spectrum that
was allocated to the TV Broadcast Service.
802.23 Emergency Services Working Group (disbanded)
Provide consistent access and data that facilitate compliance to
applicable civil authority requirements for citizen-to-authority
emergency services capabilities (like E-911) for communications
systems that include IEEE 802 networks.
802.24 Vertical Applications Technical Advisory Group (active)
This group focuses on application categories that use IEEE 802 technology
to act as a liaison with industry and regulatory agencies. Examples of
current and potential application categories are: Smart Grid, Machine to
Machine (M2M), Internet of Things (IoT), Vehicular Networking.
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Architecture
Defines layering of protocols that organize basic functions.
Open Standards Interconnection Model (OSI)
Developed by the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO)

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Another view

The IEEE standards focus on the lower layers and subdivide them.

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Layers
Physical Layer
General functions
- Encoding/decoding of data into signals to be sent over a wireless
medium through an antenna.
- Preemble generation/removal
- Beginning and ending bits added for synchronization
purposes.
- Bit transmission/reception
Physical medium dependent functionality
- Specifics of infrared, spread spectrum, etc.
Medium Access Control
Assembles groups of data bits into frames
Also includes addresses, error correction fields, etc.
Upon reception, disassembles the frame, and checks for errors.
Governs how stations get access to the medium.
- Two options
- Random access anyone can transmit at any time, but if
collisions occur they must try again in prescribed ways.
- Controlled access Give stations particular frequencies, time
slots, etc.
Logical Link Control
Provides interfaces to the network layer.
Performs flow control
- Makes sure a transmitting entity does not overwhelm a receiving
entity with data.
- Typically allocates data buffers.
- So data is not lost while a station is processing other packets.
- And makes sources adjust sending rates.
Performs error control
- Corrects errors
- Or has frames retransmitted

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Encapsulation
As data is passed down the protocol stack, each layer may add its
own information.
- To the header and maybe the trailer of the packet.

- The IP (Internet Protocol) header corresponds to the ________


layer.
- IP is far and away the most prominent protocol.
- The TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) corresponds to the

________

Layer.
- TCP is used for data, others are used for audio/video.

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MAC Frame Format


There are several 802 MAC protocols
But all MAC formats follow a format close to the following.

MAC Control specific control information for a particular MAC


protocol.
Destination MAC address Destination physical attachment point on
the wired or wireless LAN.
Source MAC address Source physical attachment.
Data Body of the MAC frame.
CRC Cyclic Redundancy Check field.
Also called a frame check sequence.
Destination does a computation operation on the received bits, if the
result is different than the CRC, an error has occurred.
MAC just detects errors, LLC takes action.

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Logical Link Control


Optionally keeps track of unsuccessful frames and retransmits them.
Not all LAN protocols do this.
Supports the ulti-access, shared-medium nature of a link.
See textbook for more details (Section 11.2).
III.

802.11 Architecture and Services


802.11 Working Group
Started in 1990
To develop MAC protocol and physical medium specifications.
And use existing 802 LLC functions.
Initial interest was to use unlicensed frequencies.
Called the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) bands in U.S.
The 802.11 Working Group has an ever-expanding list of standards.
Table 11.1 IEEE 802.11 Standards
Standard

Date

Scope
Medium access control (MAC): One common MAC for WLAN
applications

IEEE 802.11

1997

Physical layer: Infrared at 1 and 2 Mbps


Physical layer: 2.4-GHz FHSS at 1 and 2 Mbps
Physical layer: 2.4-GHz DSSS at 1 and 2 Mbps

IEEE 802.11a

1999

Physical layer: 5-GHz OFDM at rates from 6 to 54 Mbps

IEEE 802.11b

1999

Physical layer: 2.4-GHz DSSS at 5.5 and 11 Mbps

IEEE 802.11c

2003

Bridge operation at 802.11 MAC layer

IEEE 802.11d

2001

Physical layer: Extend operation of 802.11 WLANs to new


regulatory domains (countries)

IEEE 802.11e

2007

MAC: Enhance to improve quality of service and enhance


security mechanisms

IEEE 802.11f

2003

Recommended practices for multivendor access point


interoperability

IEEE 802.11g

2003

Physical layer: Extend 802.11b to data rates >20 Mbps

2003

Physical/MAC: Enhance IEEE 802.11a to add indoor and


outdoor channel selection and to improve spectrum and transmit
power management

IEEE 802.11h

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IEEE 802.11i

2007

MAC: Enhance security and authentication mechanisms

IEEE 802.11j

2007

Physical: Enhance IEEE 802.11a to conform to Japanese


requirements

IEEE 802.11k

2008

Radio Resource Measurement enhancements to provide interface


to higher layers for radio and network measurements

IEEE 802.11m

Ongoing

This group provides maintenance of the IEEE 802.11 standard by


rolling published amendments into revisions of the 802.11
standard.

IEEE 802.11n

2009

Physical/MAC: Enhancements to enable higher throughput

IEEE 802.11p

2010

Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE)

IEEE 802.11r

2008

Fast Roaming/Fast BSS Transition

IEEE 802.11s

2011

Mesh Networking

IEEE 802.11T

Abandoned

IEEE 802.11u

2011

Interworking with External Networks

IEEE 802.11v

2011

Wireless Network Management

IEEE 802.11w

2009

Protected Management Frames

IEEE 802.11y

2008

Contention Based Protocol

IEEE 802.11z

2010

Extensions to Direct Link Setup

IEEE 802.11aa

2012

Video Transport Stream

IEEE 802.11ac

Ongoing

IEEE 802.11ad

2012

Very High Throughput in 60 GHz

IEEE 802.11ae

2012

Prioritization of Management Frames

IEEE 802.11af

Ongoing

Wireless LAN in the TV White Space

IEEE 802.11ah

Ongoing

Sub 1GHz for applications that benefit from range extension,


such as smart meters.

IEEE 802.11ai

Ongoing

Fast Initial Link Set-up to reduce time to set up an association

IEEE 802.11aj

Ongoing

China Milli-Meter Wave (CMMW)

IEEE 802.11ak

Ongoing

Enhancements For Transit Links Within Bridged Networks

IEEE 802.11aq

Ongoing

Pre-Association Discovery (PAD) to discover services

IEEE 802.11ax

Ongoing

High Efficiency WLAN (HEW)

IEEE 802.11ay

Ongoing

Enhanced Throughput for Operation in License-Exempt Bands


above 45 GHz

IEEE 802.11az

Ongoing

Next Generation Positioning

Recommended Practice for Evaluation of 802.11 Wireless


Performance

Very High Throughput <6Ghz

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The latest list of active groups is available from the 802.11 web site
http://www.ieee802.org/11/QuickGuide_IEEE_802_WG_and_Activities.htm

Information is listed under Task Groups.


Wi-Fi Alliance

The first 802.11 standard to gain industry acceptance was 802.11b.


2.4 GHz, up to 11 Mbps.
There was concern whether products would successfully interoperate
Linksys Access Point with a Cisco laptop card?
Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) formed in 1990.
Renamed the Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Alliance in 2003.
(www.wi-fi.org)
Certifies interoperability for 802.11 products.
Certified products are called Wi-Fi.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is concerned with markets for WLANs in
enterprises, homes, and public hot spots.
The 802.11 Architecture

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The smallest building block of a WLAN is a

________

__________

Stations executing the same MAC protocol.


Stations competing for access to the same shared wireless medium.
Two BSSs can overlap geographically.
- A single station can participate in more than one BSS.
- Using different frequency bands.
BSSs connect through a Distribution System (DS).
Can be a switch, a wired network, or a wireless network.
The

__________

is the bridge and relay point.

Stations do not communicate directly with each other.


- But through the AP.
An AP is part of a station.
- STA1 and STA5 above.
If there is no connection to other BSSs, the BSS is called an

_______________

Stations can communicate directly using ad hoc networking


approaches.
No AP is necessary.
An Extended Service Set (ESS) consists of two or more BSSs
connected by a distribution system.
The entire ESS appears as a single logical LAN to the LLC.
Here is a table of 802.11 terminology.
Table 11.2 IEEE 802.11 Terminology
Access point (AP)

Any entity that has station functionality and provides access to the
distribution system via the wireless medium for associated stations

Basic service set (BSS)

A set of stations controlled by a single coordination function

Coordination function

The logical function that determines when a station operating


within a BSS is permitted to transmit and may be able to receive
PDUs

Distribution system (DS)

A system used to interconnect a set of BSSs and integrated LANs to


create an ESS
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Extended service set


(ESS)

A set of one or more interconnected BSSs and integrated LANs that


appear as a single BSS to the LLC layer at any station associated
with one of these BSSs

MAC protocol data unit


(MPDU)

The unit of data exchanged between two peer MAC entities using
the services of the physical layer

MAC service data unit


(MSDU)

Information that is delivered as a unit between MAC users

Station

Any device that contains an IEEE 802.11 conformant MAC and


physical layer

IEEE 802.11 Services


Nine services are provided to give functionality equivalent to wired
LANs.
Table 11.3 IEEE 802.11 Services
Service

Provider

Used to support

Association

Distribution system

MSDU delivery

Authentication

Station

LAN access and security

Deauthentication

Station

LAN access and security

Disassociation

Distribution system

MSDU delivery

Distribution

Distribution system

MSDU delivery

Integration

Distribution system

MSDU delivery

MSDU delivery

Station

MSDU delivery

Privacy

Station

LAN access and security

Reassocation

Distribution system

MSDU delivery

Two ways the services are categorized.


1. Provided by every 802.11 station (including APs) or by provided
by the distribution system.
2. LAN access and security versus delivery of MAC packets (called
MAC Service Data Units MSDUs).
MSDU Delivery Service
MSDUs are the blocks of data passed down to the MAC layer.
This service executes the delivery.
And if the MSDU is too large, it may be broken into smaller frames.
- This process is called

____________

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Services for Association


To transfer MSDUs, stations must be known to the WLAN.
- To know where a destination station is located.
A station must be associated.
- Before it can deliver or accept data.
Types of mobility to be supported.
- No transition only movement within the range of a BSS.
- BSS transition to another BSS in the same ESS.
- Addressing capabilities must recognize the new location.
- Hopefully with a fast, seamless transition (no disruption of
service from users viewpoint, on the order of 10s of msec).
- ESS transition to another ESS.
- Likely will cause a service disruption in this case.
Services
- Association
- Associate with an AP.
- APs share information with other APs.
- Reassociation
- Transfer an association to another AP.
- Disassociation
- Hopefully tell AP when leaving.
- MAC management facility also protects itself against stations
that disappear without disassociating.
Services for Access and Privacy
WLANs cannot rely on a physical wired connection for security.
- WLANs are open to anyone within radio range.
Services
- Authentication/deauthentication
- Establishes the identity of stations to each other.
- Several authentication schemes are supported.
- And also allows for expansion of the functionality.
- The standard does not mandate any authentication scheme.
- Whatever is used must be agreed upon by stations and APs.
- Privacy
- Contents of messages should not be read by unintended
recipients.
- Encryption can optionally be used for this.
Next lecture: Details on 802.11, its MAC layer wireless sharing approach, and its
security features.
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