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Learning objectives

‡ To understand wireless local area networks (WLANs)

‡ To study the requirements of WLAN
‡ To understand the architecture of WLANs
‡ To know the modulation and access technologies used
in WLANs
‡ To study the protocols of different layers of WLANs
‡ To illustrate the applications of WLANs
Network components
‡ WLAN adapters
‡ Access points
‡ Outdoor WLAN bridges
‡ WLAN routers
WLAN adapters
‡ Wireless adapters are made in the same basic form
factors as their wired counterparts.
‡ It usually contains the functionalities of physical and
data link layer (includes logical link control and MAC
‡ They enable end-users to access the network. In a
WLAN, adapters create a transparent connection to the
WLAN adapters (cont..)
Access points
‡ The Access Point (AP) is the wireless equivalent of a
wired LAN hub.
‡ It receives, buffers and transmits data between the
WLAN and the wired network, supporting a group of
wireless user devices.
‡ An access point is typically connected with the wired
backbone through a standard Ethernet cable, and
communicates with wireless devices by means of an
‡ Access Point covers range of 20 mts to 500 mts., and a
single AP can support between 15 and 250 users,
depending upon the technology, configuration and use.
Characteristics of access points
‡ Access points should be on same subnet.
‡ Access points do not perform load balancing.
‡ Client determines if it should switch between access
points based on retry level.
‡ Load balancing is performed by client so as to
balance the load among the access points.
Outdoor WLAN bridges
‡ These are used to connect wired LANs in different
‡ WLAN bridge supports fairly high data rates and
covers ranges of several miles with the use of line-of-
sight directional antennas.
‡ Some access points can also be used as a bridge
between buildings of relatively close proximity.
WLAN routers
‡ Basic function of the router is to transfer the packets
between the networks.
‡ The difference between WLAN routers and AP is that
access points allow wireless clients access to a single
network, while WLAN routers allow clients to
browse a number of different networks.
‡ The router always takes the IP address into account to
make decisions on how to forward (i.e., route) the
packet; whereas, access points generally ignore the IP
address and forward all packets.
Advantages of WLAN routers
‡ WLAN routers share IP address in the home and
small office networks.
‡ WLAN routers are ideal for wireless networks in
public areas, especially if there are multiple networks
that are accessible.
‡ WLAN routers improve the network management.
‡ Routers only send packets to specific, directed
addresses. They do not forward the often numerous
broadcast packets that are sent out by other devices.
‡ This results in an increase in the network
ßesign requirements of WLAN
‡ Range and Coverage
‡ Throughput
‡ Integrity and Reliability
‡ Compatibility
‡ Interoperability
‡ Licensing Issues:
‡ Security
‡ Cost
‡ Scalability
‡ Battery Life and
‡ Safety
Network architecture
‡ Two modes of WLANs: Infrastructure based and
Infrastructure-less WLAN.
‡ Infrastructure Based WLAN: A typical
infrastructure based WLAN defines two pieces of
equipment, a wireless station, which is usually a PC
equipped with a wireless network interface card
(NIC), and an AP, which acts as a bridge between
the wireless and wired networks.
Infrastructure based WLAN
‡ In infrastructure mode, the wireless network consists of at least
one access point connected to the wired network infrastructure
and a set of wireless end stations.

‡ This configuration is called a Basic Service Set (BSS). An

Extended Service Set (ESS) is a set of two or more BSSs
forming a single sub network.

‡ Since most corporate WLANs require access to the wired

LAN for services (servers, printers, Internet links), they will
operate in infrastructure mode.
Infrastructure-less WLAN
‡ These are some times referred as ad-hoc networks since
they are temporary networks established as and when
‡ There are two kinds of ad-hoc networks: peer-to-peer
and multihop.
‡ Ad-hoc mode (also called peer-to-peer mode or an
Independent Basic Service Set, or IBSS) is simply a set
of wireless stations that communicate directly with one
another without using an access point or any connection
to a wired network.
‡ This mode is useful for quickly and easily setting up a
wireless network anywhere that a wireless
infrastructure does not exist or is not required for
services, such as a hotel room, convention center, or
airport, or where access to the wired network is barred
(such as for consultants at a client site).
Infrastructure-less WLAN (cont..)
WLAN standards
‡ IEEE 802.11
‡ IEEE 802.11a
‡ IEEE 802.11b
‡ IEEE 802.11g
‡ IEEE 802.11h
‡ IEEE 802.11i
‡ IEEE 802.11f
‡ IEEE 802.11e
IEEE 802.11
‡ The 802.11 network architecture is comprised of
several components and services that interact to
provide station mobility transparent to the higher
layers of the network stack like wireless nodes and
access points.
‡ It supports the topologies like Independent Basic
Service Set (IBSS, ad-hoc mode), infrastructure Basic
Service Set (BSS, infrastructure mode), and Extended
Basic Service Set (EBSS, distribution system with
several infrastructure based service sets).
‡ IEEE 802.11 was the first standard in WLANs
standardized in 1997.
‡ All of the 802.11 implementations support data rates
of 1 Mbps and, optionally, 2 Mbps.
IEEE 802.11(Contd..)
‡ Three different physical layer implementations: 1. ßirect
Sequence Spread Spectrum radio (ßSSS) in the 2.4 GHz band, 2.
Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum radio (FHSS) in the 2.4
GHz band, and 3. Infrared light (IR).
‡ Signaling techniques and modulations at physical layer.
‡ The fundamental access method of 802.11 is Carrier Sense
Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance or CSMA/CA.
‡ Address functions required for an 802.11 compliant device to
operate either in a peer to- peer fashion or integrated with an
existing wired LAN.
‡ Operation of the 802.11 device within possibly overlapping
802.11 wireless LANs and the mobility of this device between
multiple wireless LANs.
‡ Privacy and security of user data being transferred over the
wireless media.
IEEE 802.11a
‡ It is an approved standard of IEEE which extends
‡ The 802.11a standard was designed to operate in the
5-GHz UNII (Unlicensed National Information
Infrastructure) band. It uses a frequency division
multiplexing scheme that's intended to be friendlier to
office environments.
‡ Each channel in 802.11a is 20 MHz and is divided
into 52 sub channels, each about 300 KHz wide.
‡ The distance or the range of a node is 150 feet
indoors and 300 feet outdoors.
IEEE 802.11b
‡ 802.11b equipment that has been certified for
interoperability by the Wireless Ethernet
Compatibility Alliance (WECA) carries the Wi-Fi
logo, so the standard itself is often referred to as Wi-
‡ 802.11b operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band
using a modulation system known as ßSSS, which is
similar to that used by CßMA cellular systems.
‡ There are three non-overlapping channels available
for 802.11b networks in the license-exempt 2.4 GHz
band that enables users to run up to three access
points in the same physical area.
‡ 802.11b is usually quoted as having a speed of 11
‡ It modifies current 802.11 MAC layer to support
quality of service to multimedia applications.
‡ The IEEE 802.11 Task Group ³e´ is responsible for
proposing improvements to the 802.11 standard to
make it better able to handle voice traffic (with a
target of 20 ms or less delay), MPEG (Moving picture
expert group) video at up to 3 Mbps, and data streams
at up to 10 Mbps.
‡ The group is looking at ways of minimizing jitter and
delay variations and maximizing access point
‡ The group is also considering ways of introducing
load balancing between access points.
‡ It provides high-rate extension to 802.11b allowing
for data rates up to 54 Mbps from 11 Mbps in the 2.4-
GHz ISM band.
‡ It also opens the possibility for using IEEE 802.11
networks in more demanding applications, such as
wireless multimedia video transmission and broadcast
‡ IEEE 802.11g creates data-rate parity at 2.4 GHz with
the IEEE 802.11a standard, which has a 54 Mbps rate
at 5 GHz.
IEEE 802.11f
‡ This is still under development. The scope of this is to
develop recommended practices for an Inter-Access
Point Protocol (IAPP) which provides the necessary
capabilities to achieve multi-vendor Access Point
interoperability across a ßistribution System
supporting IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Links.
‡ It promises to let users move through an extended
Other IEEE standards
‡ IEEE 802.11h
± This standard is still under development
‡ IEEE 802.11n
± In 2004, IEEE announced that it had formed a new 802.11
Task Group (TGn) to develop a new amendment to the
802.11 standard for local-area wireless networks.
‡ IEEE 802.11p
± IEEE 802.11p is a draft amendment to the IEEE 802.11
standard to add wireless access in the vehicular
environment (WAVE).
± It defines enhancements to 802.11 required to support
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications.
Other IEEE standards (contd..)



Comparison between IEEE standards
WLAN protocols
‡ Physical layer protocols ( such as 802.11a, 802.11b,
and 802.11g. The other IEEE standards 802.11e,
802.11f, etc., use any one of 802.11a or 802.11b
physical layer interfaces)
‡ MAC layer protocols.
IEEE 802.11
‡ The IEEE 802.11 standard places specifications on
the parameters of both the physical (PHY) and MAC
layers of the WLANs.
IEEE 802.11(Contd..)
‡ The PHY is the interface between the MAC and
wireless media, which transmits and receives data
frames over a shared wireless media.
‡ As shown in the below figure the physical layer (PHY)
in IEEE 802.11 consists of two sub layers, the physical
medium dependent (PMß) sublayer, and the physical
layer convergence sublayer (PLCP) on top.
Functionality of PHY layer
‡ The PHY layer provides a frame exchange between
the MAC and PHY under the control of the PLCP
‡ The PHY uses signal carrier and spread spectrum
modulation to transmit data frames over the media
under the control of the PMß sub layer.
‡ The PHY provides a carrier sense indication back to
the MAC to verify activity on the media.
ßifferent physical layer
‡ ßSSS PHY (ßirect Sequence Spread Spectrum)

‡ FHSS PHY (The Frequency Hopping Spread

Spectrum) and

‡ Infrared (IR) PHY

‡ The ßSSS uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band as the
RF transmission media.
‡ ßata transmission over the media is controlled by the
ßSSS PMß sublayer as directed by the ßSSS PLCP
‡ The ßSSS PMß takes the binary bits of information
from the PLCP Protocol ßata Unit (PPßU) and
transforms them into RF signals for the wireless
media by using carrier modulation and ßSSS
ßSSS PMß transmitter and
‡ ßata Scrambling

‡ ßSSS Modulation

‡ Barker Spreading Method

ßSSS PMß transmitter and
receiver (Contd..)
ßSSS PHY PPßU format
‡ The PPßU frame consists of a PLCP preamble, PLCP
header, and MPßU.
‡ The PLCP preamble and PLCP header are always
transmitted at 1 Mbps, and the MPßU can be sent at
1 Mbps or 2 Mbps.
ßSSS PHY PPßU format (Contd..)
The data items of PPßU are as follows.
‡ SYNC: This field is 128 bits in length and contains a
string of 1s which are scrambled prior to transmission.
‡ Start of frame delimiter (SFß): This field contains
information marking the start of a PPßU frame.
‡ Signal: The signal field defines which type of
modulation must be used to receive the incoming
‡ Service: The service field is reserved for future use
and the default value is 00h.
‡ Length: The length field is an unsigned 16-bit integer
that indicates the number of microseconds necessary to
transmit the MPßU.
‡ CRC: The CRC field contains the results of a
calculated frame check sequence from the sending
The frequency hopping spread
‡ The FHSS uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band as the
RF transmission media.
‡ ßata transmission over the media is controlled by the
FHSS PMß sublayer as directed by the FHSS PLCP
‡ The FHSS PMß takes the binary bits of information
from the whitened PSßU (Protocol Service ßata
Unit) and transforms them into RF signals for the
wireless media by using carrier modulation and FHSS
‡ PSßU ßata Whitening: ßata whitening is applied to
the PSßU before transmission to minimize ßC bias
on the data if long strings of 1s or 0s are contained in
the PSßU.
‡ FHSS Modulation:802.11 uses two-level Gaussian
frequency shift key (GFSK) in the FHSS PMß to
transmit the PSßU at the basic rate of 1 Mbps.
‡ FHSS Channel Hopping: A set of hop sequences is
defined in IEEE 802.11 for use in the 2.4 GHz
frequency band. The channels are evenly spaced
across the band over a span of 83.5 MHz.
FHSS PHY PPßU format
‡ The PLCP preamble is used to acquire the incoming
signal and synchronize the receiver's demodulator. The
below figure illustrates the format of a FHSS PHY
FHSS PHY PPßU format (Contd..)
The data items in FHSS PPßU are as follows:
‡ SFß
‡ PLW (PSßU Length Word)
‡ PLCP Signaling Field (PSF) and
‡ Header Check Error
Infrared (IR) PHY
‡ The IR PHY is one of the three PHY layers supported in
the standard. The IR PHY differs from ßSSS and FHSS
because IR uses near-visible light as the transmission
media. IR communication relies on light energy, which
is reflected off objects or by line-of-sight.
a) Transmitter of IR PMß

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IR PHY PPßU format
‡ The data items in PPßU of IR physical layer are as
± SFß
± ßata Rate
± ßC level
± Length
± CRC or Frame Check Sequence
IEEE 802.11a
‡ The IEEE 802.11a PHY adopts OFßM PHY.
‡ The OFßM PHY provides the capability to transmit
PSßU frames
‡ OFßM PLCP sublayer: The PPßU is unique to the
OFßM PHY. The PPßU frame consists of a PLCP
preamble signal and data fields.
‡ Receiver uses the plcp preamble to acquire the
incoming ofdm signal and synchronize the
‡ Plcp header contains information about the PSßU.
PPßU (cont..)
‡ ßata scrambling
± Using Polynomial S(x)=x^-7+x^-4+1
‡ Convolution coding
‡ OFßM modulation
± The scheme uses integer multiples of the first sub
carrier, which are orthogonal to each other.
± This technique is known as orthogonal frequency
division multiplexing (OFßM).
OFMß modulation
IEEE 802.11b
‡ The IEEE 802.11b PHY is one of the PHY layer
extensions of IEEE 802.11 and is referred to as High
Rate ßSSS (HR/ßSSS).
‡ HR/ßSSS PHY provides two functions.
1) The HR/ßSSS extends the PSßU data rates to 5.5 Mbps and
11 Mbps using an enhanced modulation technique.
2) The HR/ßSSS PHY provides a rate shift mechanism, which
allows 11 Mbps networks to fall back to 1 and 2 Mbps and
interoperate with the legacy IEEE 802.11 2.4 GHz RF PHY
‡ HIPERLAN (HIgh PErformance Radio LAN) is a
Wireless LAN standard. It is a European alternative for
the IEEE 802.11 standards.
‡ It is defined by the European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI).
‡ The CAC (Channel Access and Control) in HIPERLAN
defines how a given channel access attempt will be
made depending on whether the channel is busy or idle,
and at what priority level the attempt will be made, if
contention is necessary.
HIPERLAN (Contd..)
‡ The HIPERLAN/1 standard species an 802.11-like
radio LAN operating at 5 GHz with a data rate of up
to 19 Mb/s.
‡ Single-carrier modulation is used, requiring a
complex equalizer to handle delay spread.
supports access to IP, ATM, and UMTS core
‡ HIPERACCESS provides remote access to an IP or
ATM backbone network and 1.5.
‡ WLAN PROTOCOLS 27 is intended for use in a
wireless local loop (WLL).
HIPERLAN (Contd..)
‡ HIPERLINK is a high-rate interconnect between
‡ HIPERLAN/1 uses Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying
(GMSK) modulation, which is well understood and
broadly used in Global System for Mobile
Communications (GSM) cellular networks and
Cellular ßigital Packet ßata (CßPß).
‡ In contrast,HIPERLAN/2 uses a OFßM, which
imposes significant technical challenges.
CAC (Channel Access and Control)
‡ CAC works in the following three steps

‡ Prioritization phase
‡ Contention phase
‡ Transmission phase
CAC (Contd..)
‡ Prioritization phase: ßuring prioritization phase, the
data transmissions with highest channel access priority
are selected out. Channel access priority is based on
Packet Residual Lifetime and user priority.
‡ Contention phase: CAC transmits a signal (the length of
signal is calculated based on geometric probability
distribution). At the end of transmission, the CAC
listens to the channel. If another device is still
transmitting, it defers its transmission until the next
channel access cycle. Otherwise the CAC gains the
channel and begins its transmission.
‡ Transmission phase: Transmit the data in the
transmission phase.
‡ HIPERLAN2 also employs multiple types of
‡ The air interface of HIPERLAN/2 is based on time-
division duplex and dynamic time-division multiple
Frame structure of HIPERLAN/2
There is a basic frame with fixed length, which comprises
five fields for broadcast control, frame control, downlink,
uplink and random access.
‡ The units which are processed on the physical layer
are bursts comprising a preamble and PßU trains.

‡ Three different preambles are used

(i) the broadcast control channel,
(ii) other downlink channels,
(iii) the uplink and the random access channel.
Structure of preambles of
MAC layer protocols
‡ The MAC layer is a set of protocols which is
responsible for maintaining order in the use of a
shared medium.
± 802.11
± 802.11e
± HIPERLAN are types of protocols.
Comparison of physical layer of
WLAN technologies
‡ The 802.11 standard species a Carrier Sense Multiple
Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA)

‡ IEEE 802.11 standard defines a distributed

coordination function (ßCF) for sharing access to the
medium based on the CSMA/CA protocol.

‡ In addition to the mandatory function there is an

function called point coordination function (PCF).
‡ The ßCF is the fundamental access method used to
support asynchronous data transfer on a best effort
‡ The ßCF operates solely in the ad hoc network, and
either operates solely or coexists with the PCF in an
infrastructure network.
Structure of ßCF
‡ PCF uses a poll and response protocol to eliminate
the possibility of contention for the medium.
‡ The PCF is built over the ßCF and both can operate
‡ The PCF uses PIFS instead of ßIFS and
‡ A Point Coordinator (PC) controls the PCF.
Example for PCF
‡ In the figure , five stations 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are shown.
Which of the last three stations do you think is closest
to the station 1 and why?
‡ The station 3 is closest to the station 1 since it heard
the RTS and responded to it by asserting its NAV
signal. The stations 4 and 5 did not respond at
earliest, so they must be outside A's radio range.
Other functionalities of MAC
‡ Fragmentation
‡ Privacy
‡ Authentication
‡ Association
‡ Address filtering
‡ Power management
‡ Synchronization
‡ Scanning
‡ Joining a BSS
802.11e MAC for QoS
‡ The IEEE has suggested some enhancements to IEEE
802.11 MAC layer, in order to make it capable of
supporting the Quality of Service (QoS) that is
required by the real-time applications.
1. An extension to the current ßCF contention-based access
scheme to provide service differentiation via priorities, and
2. Modification to the existing PCF for more efficient polling
802.11e MAC for QoS (cont..)
‡ The MAC protocols of 802.11 and HIPERLAN/2
differ significantly as 802.11 uses a distributed access
scheme whereas HIPERLAN/2 is centrally organized
‡ It is a centrally controlled MAC which means that all
resource allocations are done by a central unit, in
general the Access Point (AP).

j '



Routing in WLAN
‡ WLAN routers implement the Network Address
Translation (NAT) protocol that enables multiple
network devices to share a single IP address, which are
generally provided by the Internet service provider (ISP).
‡ WLAN routers also have the ability to provide port-
based control, firewall management and ßynamic Host
Configuration Protocol (ßHCP) services for all devices.
‡ These functions make the WLAN router much more
versatile than an access point.
Peer-to-Peer routing
‡ The network model considered for peer-to-peer routing
are islands of high-speed wireless connectivity
surrounded by regions of low or no network access.
‡ It is assumed that devices that are within these islands
have access to an infrastructure component (access
point) while in surrounding areas, only ad-hoc
communication is possible between neighboring peer
‡ Mobile Internet Protocol (IP) is a recommended
Internet protocol designed to support the mobility of a
± Mobile Node (MN), Home Agent (HA), Foreign Agent
(FA), Care-of-address (COA), Correspondent Node (CN),
Home Address, Mobility Agent, and Tunnel.
Mobile-IP (Contd..)
‡ Mobile-IP offers following support services
‡ Agent ßiscovery
‡ Registration
‡ Encapsulation
‡ It is a process of enclosing an IP datagram within
another IP header which contains the care-of-address
of the mobile node.
‡ The IP datagram itself remains intact and untouched
throughout the enclosing process.
Relationship between MN, HA and
Problems with Mobile IP protocol
‡ There are certain problems with Mobile IP protocol,
which are listed below.
± ßogleg routing.
± Too many unwanted duplicated fields in IP.
± Single home agent model - a fragile model.
± Unbearable frequent report to the home agent if the mobile
node moves frequently.
IEEE 802.11p
‡ In Vehicular Ad hoc Networks (VANETs), Vehicular
safety communications applications cannot tolerate
long connection establishment delays before being
enabled to communicate with other vehicles
encountered on the road.
‡ Additionally, the rapidly moving vehicles and complex
roadway environment present challenges at the PHY
‡ IEEE 802.11p is also known as ßedicated Short Range
Communications/Wireless Access in Vehicular
Environments (ßSRC/WAVE). IEEE 802.11p is still
under progress.
IEEE 802.11p (contd..)
‡ ßescribes the functions and services required by WAVE-
conformant stations to operate in a rapidly varying environment
and exchange messages without having to join a BSS, as in the
traditional IEEE 802.11 use case.
‡ ßefines the WAVE signaling technique and interface functions
that are controlled by the IEEE 802.11 MAC.
‡ IEEE 802.11p WAVE is only a part of a group of standards
related to all layers of protocols for ßSRC based operations.
IEEE 802.11p (contd..)
ßSRC/WAVE communication stack
IEEE 802.11p (cont..)
‡ Basically ßSRC/WAVE communication stack
consists of two planes: Management plane and
ßata plane.
± Management plane: Management plane consists of WME,
MLME, and PLME. Basic function of the management
plane is to manage WAVE Basic Service Set (WBSS)
participation in support of applications, and to coordinate
the IPv6 configuration.
± ßata plane: ßata plane consists of UßP, TCP, IPV6,
WSMP, LLC, WAVE MAC and physical layer.
Physical layer
‡ At Physical layer level, IEEE 802.11p main aim is to
make the minimum necessary changes to IEEE 802.11
PHY so that WAVE devices can communicate
effectively among fast moving vehicles in the
roadway environment.
IEEE 802.11p physical data rates
MAC layer
‡ A station in WAVE mode is allowed to transmit and
receive data frames with the wildcard BSS
identification (BSSIß) value and without the need to
belong to a BSS of any kind a priori.
‡ This means, two vehicles can immediately
communicate with each other upon encounter without
any additional overhead as long as they operate in the
same channel.
ßifferences between IEEE 802.11p
and IEEE 802.11a
WLAN applications

‡ A new generation of applications, including: voice over

WLAN (VoWLAN), locationing, pervasive and
ubiquitous connectivity, multimedia communications,
vehicle communications, Health care, Home Area
Networking (HAN).
± Campus networking requires a new generation of WLAN
Home area network (HAN)