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Basics of wireless LAN:

A wireless local area network (WLAN) provides wireless network communication over short
distances using radio or infrared signals instead of traditional network cabling. A WLAN is a
type of local area network (LAN).

Wireless Architecture:
Wireless LAN architecture is composed of different components which help in establishing
the local area network between different operating systems. These components are very
essential for WiFi architecture.
1. Access point
2. Clients
3. Bridge
Access Points
A special type of routing device that is used to transmit the data between wired
and wireless networking device is called as AP. It is often connected with the help of wired
devices such as Ethernet. It only transmits or transfers the data between wireless LAN and
wired network by using infra structure mode of network. One access point can only support
a small group of networks and works more efficiently. It is operated less than hundred feet.
It is denoted by AP.
Clients
Any kind of device such as personal computers, Note books, or any kind of mobile devices
which are inter linked with wireless network area referred as a client of wireless LAN
architecture.
Bridge
A special type of connectors which is used to establish connections between wired network
devices such as Ethernet and different wireless networks such as wireless LAN. It is called as
bridge. It acts as a point of control in wireless LAN architecture.

Two components are also some time play an important role in Wireless LAN architecture i.e.
1. Basic Service Set (BSS)
2. Extended Service Set (ESS)

Station
An addressable node in WLAN is called a station.
Basic Service set:
The following diagram shows a Basic Service Set (BSS) of a particular station in
WLAN architecture.

The BSS can have number of computing systems and those are
interconnected with access point by using 802.11.
The devices in a station of WLAN may use same frequencies and
interconnection of stations done only through access point.
Each node of a station uses same frequency band if it is at a tolerable
distance from another station or a node may use different frequency bands
if its distance not enough from other stations.
So, a particular node at a station can communicate directly to the access
point and to the other node at another station
through the access point.
The nodes of a station can communicate among themselves by forming an
ad-hoc or any other type of network, using same
frequency band by each node.
Independent Basic Service Set (IBSS):
An IBSS having no access point for the connectivity of distributed systems. The
IBSS has set of nodes those can communicate among themselves within its
boundary.
The following diagram shows an IBSS
There are several devices at a station, which are networked by using 802.11
protocol.
In the diagram an IBSS has three stations, STAB, STAC, and STAD, the
stations in IBSS does not connected to any access point. Here the devices
are communicated directly with one another or communicate among
themselves after forming an ad-hoc network.
Extended service set(ESS)
The following diagram shows WLAN access points of networks using ESS.
Here the access points A, B, C, D, E, F and G networked together and form
an ESS. Generally, an ESS have an ID known as ESSID.
Suppose to gent the internet I at each WLAN DS, then establish a
connection between internet I and ESS.
The ESS access point may exist or implemented at a base station or
gateway and the access point may have multi point relay node.
The ESS can able to interconnect with a cellular network.

At this stage the 802.11 can facilitate only the ESSID, but it not defines or
provide any protocols that support distributed system. The protocols used
in ESS may or may not be TCP/IT or IPv6, these usages of protocols may
depend upon the how the BSS is interoperate in a service provider servicing
setup.

IEEE WLAN STANDARDS:


802.11

In 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the first WLAN standard. They called
it 802.11 after the name of the group formed to oversee its development. Unfortunately, 802.11 only supported a
maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps too slow for most applications. For this reason, ordinary 802.11 wireless
products are no longer manufactured.

802.11b

IEEE expanded on the original 802.11 standard in July 1999, creating the 802.11bspecification. 802.11b supports
bandwidth up to 11 Mbps, comparable to traditional Ethernet.

802.11b uses the same unregulated radio signaling frequency (2.4 GHz) as the original 802.11 standard. Vendors
often prefer using these frequencies to lower their production costs. Being unregulated, 802.11b gear can incur
interference from microwave ovens, cordless phones, and other appliances using the same 2.4 GHz range. However,
by installing 802.11b gear a reasonable distance from other appliances, interference can easily be avoided.

Pros of 802.11b - Lowest cost; signal range is good and not easily obstructed

Cons of 802.11b - Slowest maximum speed; home appliances may interfere on the unregulated
frequency band

802.11a

While 802.11b was in development, IEEE created a second extension to the original 802.11 standard called 802.11a.

Because 802.11b gained in popularity much faster than did 802.11a, some folks believe that 802.11a was created
after 802.11b. In fact, 802.11a was created at the same time. Due to its higher cost, 802.11a is usually found on
business networks whereas 802.11b better serves the home market.

802.11a supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps and signals in a regulated frequency spectrum around 5 GHz. This higher
frequency compared to 802.11b shortens the range of 802.11a networks. The higher frequency also means 802.11a
signals have more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions.
Because 802.11a and 802.11b utilize different frequencies, the two technologies are incompatible with each other.
Some vendors offer hybrid 802.11a/b network gear, but these products merely implement the two standards side by
side (each connected device must use one or the other).

Pros of 802.11a - Fast maximum speed; regulated frequencies prevent signal interference from
other devices.

Cons of 802.11a - Highest cost; shorter range signal that is more easily obstructed.

802.11g

In 2002 and 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g emerged on the market. 802.11g
attempts to combine the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b.

802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and it uses the 2.4 GHz frequency for greater range. 802.11g is backward
compatible with 802.11b, meaning that 802.11g access points will work with 802.11b wireless network adapters and
vice versa.

Pros of 802.11g - Fast maximum speed; signal range is good and not easily obstructed.

Cons of 802.11g - Costs more than 802.11b; appliances may interfere on the unregulated signal
frequency.

802.11n

802.11n (also sometimes known as "Wireless N") was designed to improve on 802.11g in the amount of bandwidth
supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and antennas (called MIMO technology) instead of one.

Industry standards groups ratified 802.11n in 2009 with specifications providing for up to 300 Mbps of network
bandwidth. 802.11n also offers somewhat better range over earlier Wi-Fi standards due to its increased signal
intensity, and it is backward-compatible with 802.11b/g gear.

Pros of 802.11n - Fastest maximum speed and best signal range; more resistant to signal
interference from outside sources.

Cons of 802.11n - Standard is not yet finalized; costs more than 802.11g; the use of multiple
signals may greatly interfere with nearby 802.11b/g based networks.

802.11ac

The newest generation of Wi-Fi signaling in popular use, 802.11ac utilizes dual-band wireless technology, supporting
simultaneous connections on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. 802.11ac offers backward compatibility to
802.11b/g/n and bandwidth rated up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band plus up to 450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.

Wireless LAN technology ( or techniques of implementation):

The various ways of implementing wireless LAN are:

1.) Infrared WLAN:


IR wireless is the use of wireless technology in devices or systems that convey data through
infrared (IR) radiation.
An individual cell of an IR LAN is limited to a single room, because infrared light does not
penetrate opaque walls.
There are three transmission techniques commonly used for IR data transmission. They are:
A) Directed-beam IR.
It can be used to create point-to-point links.

B) Omnidirectional configuration
It involves a single base station that is within line of sight of all other station on the LAN.

C) Diffused configuration:
the IR transmitters are focused and aimed at a point on a diffusely reflecting ceiling.

Infrared WLAN comes under wireless optical communication.

Fig. Schematic diagram of Wireless optical communication


Wireless optical links:

The aspects of the wireless optical channel can vary essentially relying upon the channel
that is utilized. The three kinds of the optical links are as follows:
Point-to-Point Links
Diffuse Links
Quasi-Diffuse Links

Point-to-Point Links

Point-to-point connections work when there is an immediate,


unobstructed way between a transmitter and a receiver. A connection, is
secured when the transmitter is situated towards the receiver. In the narrow
field-of-view applications, this oriented configuration allows the receiver to
reject ambient light and achieve high data rates and low path loss.
Diffuse Links

Diffuse transmitters emanate optical power over a wide robust plot


so as to straight forwardness the indicating and shadowing issues. The
transmitter does not have to be pointed at the beneficiary since the radiant
optical force is thought to be reflected from the surfaces of the room. This
bears client terminals a wide level of portability at the expenditure of high
path loss.

Quasi-Diffuse Links
Quasi-diffuse connections inherit both point-to-indicate and diffuse
connections upgrade join throughput. The transmitter enlightens the roof
with an arrangement of gradually wandering pillar sources, which enlighten a
lattice of spots on the roof. The transmit beams are made utilizing singular
light sources. The information transmitted on all beams is indistinguishable.
The connection is more delicate to shadowing with respect to diffuse
connections.
Advantage of IR WLAN:
the infrared communication can be more easily secured against snooping than
microwave and separate infrared installation.
the equipment is relatively inexpensive and simple.
Infrared data transmission typically uses intensity modulation, so that IR receivers need
to detect only the amplitude of optical signals, whereas most microwave receivers must
detect frequency.
Spectrum for infrared virtually unlimited hence we can get higher data rates.

Disadvantage of IR WLAN:
many indoor environments experience rather intense infrared background radiation,
from sunlight and indoor lighting. This ambient radiation appears as noise in an infrared
receiver, requiring the use of transmitters of higher power than would otherwise be
required and also limiting the range.

Spread spectrum(SS) WLAN:


In this type of WLAN frequency Hoping or direct sequence spread spectrum are used to
transmit data.
This type of WLAN operates in ISM bands and hence licensing is not needed to operate
them.
Following are the features of SS WLAN.
a) Data rate: 1 to 3 Mbps for Frequency hopping (FH) and 2 to 20 Mbps for direct
sequence (DS).
b) Mobility: Frequency hopping supports full mobility, DS supports
stationary/mobile mode.
c) Coverage range: 30 to 100 meters(FH) and 30 to 250 (DS)
d) Frequency support: 902 to 928 MHz, 2.4 to 2.4835 GHz, 5.725 to 5.85 GHz
e) Modulation type: FSK in FH and QPSK in DS
f) Device radiated power is less than 1Watt
g) Access Method: CSMA

Microwave Radio Frequency- RF WLAN


This type of WLAN use Microwave frequencies to transmit or to receive data.
This type of RF based Wireless LAN operates in both licensed and unlicensed bands.
It has two Bandwidth, they are:
1) Licensed RF has the advantages is that guarantees interference-free
communication.
2) Unlicensed Narrowband RF can be used for narrowband transmission at
lower power 0.5 watts or less.
Following are the features of RF WLAN type:
a) Data rate: 10 -20 Mbps.
b) Supports both stationary and mobile mode.
c) Coverage range: 10-40 meters.
d) Frequency range supported: 902 - 928MHz, 5.2 - 5.775GHz, 18.825
- 19.205GHz.
e) Modulation type: FS/QPSK.
f) Device radiates power of typically about 25mWatt.
g) Access method: Reservation ALOHA and CSMA

Advantages of WLAN:
A) Mobility
Mobility enables users to physically move while using an appliance, such as a handheld PC or
data collector.

B) Installation in Difficult-to-Wire Areas


The implementation of wireless networks offers many tangible cost savings when performing
installations in difficult-to-wire areas. If rivers, freeways, or other obstacles separate buildings
that you want to connect, a wireless solution may be much more economical than installing
physical cable or leasing communications circuits.

C) Increased Reliability
A problem inherent to wired networks is the downtime due to cable faults. In fact, cable faults
are often the primary cause of system downtime. Wires and connectors can easily break through
misuse and normal use. An advantage of wireless networking, therefore, results from the use of
less cable. This reduces the downtime of the network and the costs associated with replacing
cables.

D) Reduced Installation Time


The deployment of wireless networks greatly reduces the need for cable installation, making the
network available for use much sooner.

E) Long-Term Cost Savings


When we relocate out office or Home, so it requires our home an office networks to be moved.
If we have a wired network it will take some reinstall cost. But Wireless does not require any
reinstall cost so it is cot saving.

Disadvantages of Wireless LAN:

Susceptible to weather and solar activity.


Constrained by buildings, trees, terrain.
Slower bandwidth.
Wireless network cards card is more costly than wired network card.
WIFI TECHNOLOGY
WIFI is an alternative network to wired network which is commonly used for connecting
devices in wireless mode.
WIFI is stand for Wireless Fidelity is generic term that refers to IEEE 802.11 standard for
Wireless Local Networks or WLANs.
WIFI connects computers to each other, to the internet and to the wired network.
WIFI uses radio technology to transmit and receive data at high speed.
Elements of WIFI network are:
a) Access Point (AP) - The AP is a wireless LAN transceiver or base
station that can connect one or many wireless devices
simultaneously to the Internet.
b) Wi-Fi cards - They accept the wireless signal and relay information. They
can be internal and external.
c) Safeguards - Firewalls and anti-virus software protect networks
from uninvited users and keep information secure.
WIFI Topologies:
1) Peer-to-peer topology (Ad-hoc Mode).
a) In Ad-hoc topology, Access point is not required.
b) Client devices within a cell can communicate with each other
directly.
c) It is useful for setting up a wireless network quickly and easily.

Fig. ad-hoc network

2) Infrastructure Network:
a) The client communicates through Access Point.
b) Any communication has to go through access point(AP).
c) If a Mobile Station (MS), like a computer, a PDA, or a phone,
wants to communicate with another MS, it needs to send the
information to AP first, then AP sends it to the destination MS.
Fig. Infrastructure network.

WIFI Hotspots:
a) A Hotspot is a geographical area that has a readily accessible
wireless network.
b) Hotspots are equipped with Broad band Internet connection and
one or more Access points that allow users to access the internet
wirelessly
c) Hotspots can be setup in any public location that can support an
Internet connection. All the locations discussed previously are
examples of Hotspots.
d) Hotspots can be setup in any public location that can support an
Internet connection. All the locations discussed previously are
examples of Hotspots.

HiperLAN:
HIPERLAN is the short form of High Performance Radio LAN. It is variant of IEEE 802.11
standard developed by ETSI BRAN for use in European region.
It has following two variants:
a) HiperLAN/1.
b) HiperLAN/2.
A) HiperLAN/1:
Following are the features of HIPERLAN/1:
Operates at 5GHz
Supports data rate up to 19 Mbps.
It uses SC (Single Carrier) modulation such as GMSK.
It uses complex equalizer to take care of delay spread.

B) HiperLAN/2:
Following are the features of HIPERLAN/2:
Operates at 5GHz with 455MHz bandwidth.
Supports data rate of 6 Mbps to 54 Mbps similar to 802.11a
it uses multi carrier (i.e. OFDM) modulation like 802.11a
It uses two bands one for indoor use and the other for outdoor use with power at 200
milliwatt and 1 Watt respectively.

Difference between HIPERLAN/1 and HIPERLAN/2

HIPERLAN/2
Specifications HIPERLAN/1

TDMA, TDD
Access technique TDMA, EY NPMA

BPSK-OFDM, QPSK-OFDM, 16QAM-


Modulation
OFDM, 64QAM-OFDM
technique GMSK, FSK

From 6, 9, 12, 18, 27, 36, 48, 54


Data rate (Mbps) 23 (HBR), 1.4 (LBR)

Frequency of
5.1 GHz to 5.3 GHz
operation 5.1 GHz to 5.3 GHz

Greater than 20 Mbps


Data rate 23.2 Mbps

Wireless ATM, Indoor Access


Application WLAN

Infrastructure, De-centralized
cellular, centralized
Topology Ad-Hoc

Omni-directional
Antenna type Omni-directional

50 to 100 meters
Coverage Range 50 meters

ATM networks
Interface LAN

less than 10 m/s


Mobility less than 10 m/s

Some other Variants of HiperLAN are:


a) HiperLAN type-3:
Following are the features of HIPERLAN Type-3(HIPERACCESS):
Frequency: 5.1 GHz to 5.3 GHz
Topology: Uni-directional or point to multi-point
Antenna type: directional
Range: 5000 meters
Data rate: >20 Mbps
Mobility: stationary

b) HiperLAN type- 4:
Following are the features of HIPERLAN Type-4(HIPERLINK):
Frequency: 17.1 to 17.3 GHz
Topology: Directional
Antenna type: directional
Range: 150 meters
Data rate: 155 Mbps
Mobility: stationary

Advantages of WIFI:
1.) Mobility
2.) Ease of Installation
3.) Flexibility
4.) Cost
5.) Reliability
6.) Security
7.) Use unlicensed part of the radio spectrum
8.) Roaming
9.) Speed

Limitations of WIFI:
A) Interference
B) Degradation in performance
C) High power consumption
D) Limited range

Bluetooth:
Bluetooth is a new technology that comes as an alternative to cables for connecting portable
and fixed electronic devices and uses short range (10 meter) frequency hopping radio links for
communication. It operates within the unlicensed ISM (Industrial scientific and medical) band at
2.4 GHz.
Bluetooth Features:
1) Robustness - It uses a fast acknowledgement and frequency hopping
scheme to make a radio link robust.
2) Low complexity- The necessary transceiver components present in the
devices are simple.
3) Low cost- A wireless device with this technology is available at an
affordable price.
Applications of Bluetooth:
There are a variety of applications of Bluetooth such as:
1) Allows a transfer of images (or) word documents (or) applications (or) audio and video
files between devices without the help of cables.
2) Can be used for remote sales technology allowing wireless access to vending machines
and other commercial enterprises.
3) Provides inter accessibility of PDAs, palmtops and desktops for file and data exchanges.
4) It can be used to setup a personal area network (PAN) or a wireless personal area
network (WPAN).
Bluetooth Architecture:
The protocol architecture of Bluetooth is given below:
1) Radio Layer:
It is responsible for Modulation/Demodulation of data for transmitting (OR) receiving
over air.

2) The baseband layer:


The base band layer is responsible for
a) Controlling the physical links via radio.
b) Assembling the packets
c) Controlling frequency hopping.

3) The link manager protocol controls and configures links to other devices.

4) The host controller interface(HCI) handles communication between the host and the
module. For this purpose, it uses several HCI command packets such as the even packets
and data packets. The L2CAP layer converts the data obtained from higher layers into
packets of different sizes.
5) The RF COMM provides a serial interface with wireless application protocol (WAP) and
object exchange(OBEX).

6) WAP and OBEX provide interface to other communications protocols.

7) The TCS(Telephone control protocol specification) provide telephony service.

8) The SDP(Service discovery protocol) allows the devices to discover the services
available on another Bluetooth enabled device.

The applications present in the application layer can extract the services of the lower layers by
using one of the many profiles available.

3G wireless system:
3G is also called third generation. It is named as such because it is the third generation
of the standards of telecommunication hardware.

The fundamentals purpose of the 3G mobile communications system is to


provide a globally integrated wireless communication system combining different
incompatible network technologies already deployed across the world. The modes
differ in how duplexing is accomplished and how many carriers are used. All variations
operate in a 5-MHz channel, as compared to 1.25 MHz for CDMA one systems.
The need for a capacity increase necessitates a greater spectrum allocation (1885 MHz-
2025 MHz and 2110 MHz-2200 Mhz) for 3G systems.

The Third Generation aims to combine telephony, internet, and multimedia into a single
device. This entails an additional requirement that it supports the internet protocols and
be based on a packet-switched network backbone.

The key features of the IMT-2000 system defining the ITUs (International
Telecommunication Union) view of 3G cellular network capabilities are as follows:
a) High degree of worldwide commonality of design
b) Compatibility of services with fixed networks and within IMT-2000
c) More efficient use of the available spectrum
d) Voice quality comparable to the Public Switched Telephone
Network (PSTN)
e) 144-kbps data rate available to users in high-speed vehicles over
large areas.
f) 384 kbps available to pedestrians standing or moving slowly over
small area.
g) Support for 2-Mbps data rate for office use.
h) Symmetrical and asymmetrical data- transmission rates.
i) Support for both circuit-switched and packet-switched data
services.
j) Support for wide variety of mobile phones for worldwide use
including Pico, micro, macro, and global cellular/satellite cells.
k) Worldwide roaming capability.
l) Capability for multimedia applications and a wide range of
services.
m) Flexibility to allow the introduction of new services and
technologies.

4G Wireless Systems:
It is Fourth Generation Digital Cellular System.
Fourth generation wireless system is a packet switched wireless system with wide area
coverage and high throughput.
It is designed to be cost effective and to provide high spectral efficiency.
It is a successor to the 3G and 2G families of standards.
4G standards, setting peak speed requirements for 4G service at 100 Mbit/s for high
mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility
communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users)
A 4G system is expected to provide a comprehensive and secure all-IP based mobile
broadband solution to laptop computer wireless modems, smartphones, and other
mobile devices. Facilities such as ultra-broadband Internet access, IP telephony, gaming
services, and streamed multimedia may be provided to users
The 4g wireless uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), Ultra-Wide
Radio Band (UWB), and Millimeter wireless.
it gives the ability for worldwide roaming to access cell anywhere.

Features of 4G are:
a) Support for interactive multimedia, voice, streaming video,
Internet, and other broadband services.
b) IP based mobile system.
c) High speed, high capacity, and low cost per bit.
d) Global access, service portability, and scalable mobile services.
e) Seamless switching, and a variety of Quality of Service driven
services.
f) Better scheduling and call admission control techniques.
g) Better spectral efficiency.

SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR EXAM


Q.) How does the symmetry of wireless links influence the routing algorithms proposed?
Most algorithms fail if the links are asymmetric (up to the extreme case of unidirectional
links). Think of DSR(Direct source routing algorithm) this algorithm states that the
receiver simple sends the packet collecting routers on the way between source and
destination back to the source by choosing the routers in the reverse order. But what is
some reverse links do not exist? Then DSR has to find a way the other way round, too.
Now source and destination both got a way but in the wrong direction! Somehow this
information must reach the other side without a route quite difficult (broadcast is
always a solution).
Q.) How do IEEE 802.11, HiperLAN2 and Bluetooth, respectively, solve the hidden terminal
problem?
802.11 uses the MACA mechanism sending RTS/CTS to solve the hidden terminal
problem. For HiperLAN2 this problem does not exist as the access point controls all
medium access. If a terminal is hidden it cannot communicate at all and, thus, does not
interfere. In Bluetooth, too, are no hidden terminals as the master controls all visible
slaves. If a terminal does not see the master it cannot participate in communication. If
this terminal sends anyway it will not interfere as this terminal then acts as master with
a different hopping sequence.
Q.). How are fairness problems regarding channel access solved in IEEE 802.11, HiperLAN2,
and Bluetooth respectively? How is the waiting time of a packet ready to transmit reflected?
802.11 implements a back-off mechanism that tries to offer fair access to the medium in
the standard case (no polling from the access point). If all systems behave well this
mechanism gives a fair share of the overall bandwidth to all stations. In HiperLAN2 and
Bluetooth medium access is controlled by an access point or master, respectively.
Fairness then depends on these special nodes, which also decide upon the waiting time
of a packet when it will be transmitted. In 802.11 the waiting time directly influences
the chances for transmission in the next contention cycle.
Q.) Compare the QoS (Quality of service) offered in all three LANs in ad-hoc mode. What
advantages does an additional infrastructure offer? How is QoS provided in Bluetooth? Can
one of the LAN technologies offer hard QoS (i.e., not only statistical guarantees regarding a
QoS parameter)?
802.11 does not offer QoS in the ad-hoc mode as it needs the access point for polling.
HiperLAN2, on the contrary, establishes a central controller for the ad-hoc mode (called
direct mode), which controls QoS. Bluetooth always works ad-hoc, well, a master
controls up to seven slaves and, thus, forms an ad-hoc access point. Bluetooth therefore
can offer QoS in its ad-hoc mode. QoS in Bluetooth is provided by periodic polling
through the master. This guarantees certain data rates and access latencies. HiperLAN2
can give hard QoS guarantees as it controls access latency, bandwidth etc. After a
master has been found, Bluetooth can give hard guarantees for SCO connections.
802.11 can give guarantees if no contention phase is allowed (polling only). As soon as
there is a contention phase, the system cannot guarantee access latencies.
Q.) Compare IEEE 802.11, HiperLAN2, and Bluetooth with regard to their ad-hoc capabilities.
Where is the focus of these technologies?
All three standards offer ad-hoc functionality, although only Bluetooth was designed
with the focus on ad-hoc networking. 802.11 heavily relies on an access point for many
functions (e.g., power control, frequency selection, QoS in polling mode, access control
etc.). Bluetooth on the other hand implements all functions in all nodes enabling all
devices to set up a network. Main focus of HiperLAN2 is the infrastructure mode, too.
Roughly, it can be said that 802.11 covers all standard office applications, Bluetooth
focuses on inter-device connectivity, while HiperLAN2 was designed for QoS support (no
products yet).
Q.) If Bluetooth is a commercial success, what are remaining reasons for the use of infra red
transmission for WLANs?
One reason for infrared is still cost IR devices are very cheap and very simple to
integrate. Another advantage is the simple protection from eavesdropping. Attackers
can much more easily tap Bluetooth communication, incautious users even let their
Bluetooth devices open for public access (simply scan for Bluetooth devices at public
devices - many are detectable). IR communication is much more secure as the devices
have to face each other (directed IR).
Q.) With a focus on security, what are the problems of WLANs? What level of security can
WLANs provide, what is needed additionally and how far do the standards go?
WLANs introduce the air interface which is very simple to eavesdrop. Thus, many WLAN
standards introduce more or less strong encryption mechanisms. The most famous one,
WEP, has been cracked soon after introduction. Furthermore, the most prominent
WLAN family, 802.11, does not provide powerful authentication mechanisms. New
standards introduce more security (802.11i), however, users should always use an
additional VPN on top of the WLAN to protect privacy and data integrity. WLANs
following Bluetooth or HiperLAN2 offer more advanced security functions compared to
802.11.
Q.) How mobility is restricted using WLANs? What additional elements are needed for
roaming between networks, how and where can WLANs support roaming? In your answer,
think of the capabilities of layer 2 where WLANs reside.
Without further mechanisms mobility in WLANs is restricted to the coverage of a single
access point. In order to support roaming additional inter access point protocols are
needed. The access points have to inform each other about the current active stations
within their coverage. This approach is only feasible for local areas, otherwise location
registers etc. similar to GSM are required. The access points simply operate as
transparent, self-learning bridges that need additional information to forget stations
faster compared to the aging mechanisms in fixed network bridges. Station
identification is based on MAC addresses. Roaming typically requires a switched layer-2-
network.
Q.) Why is the PHY layer in IEEE 802.11 subdivided? What about HiperLAN2 and Bluetooth?
802.11 covers a whole family of WLAN standards. Depending on transmission
technology, bandwidth etc. different PHY layers exist. They all share a common MAC. In
order to adapt the different lower parts of the PHY layer a sublayer offers common
functions required by MAC, e.g., carrier sensing. The HiperLAN family specifies several
PHY layers. However, currently it seems that only HiperLAN2 has a chance to survive
this standard specifies only one PHY layer. All Bluetooth systems use the same layers.
Q.) Compare the power saving mechanisms in all three LANs introduced in this chapter. What
are the negative effects of the power saving mechanisms, what are the trade-offs between
power consumption and transmission QoS?
All systems save power by periodic sleep functions. In particular Bluetooth systems offer
several low power modes as they are typically battery operated. Negative effects of
power saving are the increased latency for spontaneous transmissions the devices
have to wake-up first. Thus, the shorter access delay should be the less power a device
can save. Furthermore, high data rates require high power. If the periodic sleep function
is not synchronized with, e.g., periodic data transfer heavy jitter will result.
Q.) In what situations can collisions occur in all three networks? Distinguish between
collisions on PHY and MAC layer. How do the three wireless networks try to solve the
collisions or minimize the probability of collisions?
During polling, there are no collisions on the MAC layers of HiperLAN2 and Bluetooth as
the access point/master controls the medium. However, in order to access the access
point, nodes may transmit during a random access phase in HiperLAN2 (random channel
with feedback from the access point). At this point collisions may occur on the MAC
layer. For 802.11 collisions on the MAC layer are nothing unusual. The MAC algorithm
with back-off solves this problem. Collisions on the PHY layer may occur in Bluetooth
only if another piconet randomly jumps to the same frequency at the same time. This
will destroy data for this time-slot. In HiperLAN2 different networks are separated in
frequency, thus there should be not collisions besides the above mentioned during the
random-access phase. In 802.11 networks MAC collisions are also collisions at the PHY
layer. Important packets in 802.11 have higher priorities implemented via shorter
waiting times (SIFS, PIFS).
Q.) Compare the overhead introduced by the three medium access schemes and the resulting
performance at zero load, light load, high load of the medium. How does the number of
collisions increase with the number of stations trying to access the medium, and how do the
three networks try to solve the problems? What is the overall scalability of the schemes in
number of nodes?
802.11 has the lowest overhead as each node can simply access the medium if it is free.
Thus, 802.11 offers the shortest access latency at zero load and still low latency at light
load. The system breaks down at high load as then only collisions will occur and no
station is able to send anything. Therefore, 802.11 has a rather soft capacity. HiperLAN2
and Bluetooth require some kind of connection setup. This increases access latency
even if the load is light or zero. As soon as a connection exists, the quality and access
latency is almost independent of the load. Both systems can be loaded to the maximum
without a system breakdown. For Bluetooth this is true in a piconet, not within scatter
nets. Scalability is low in general (8 nodes within a piconet). For HiperLAN the number of
maximum nodes depends on the QoS requirements. In 802.11 networks the number of
supported nodes depends on the traffic patterns.