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From idea to implementation

How to successfully deploy a WLAN

Category: Wireless networking/WLAN/Wi-Fi

Date: 11 April 2007, 14:00

Company: Nortel

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The 802.11 standard defines a common MAC layer2 for all the 802.11 physical layers. The 802.11 frame format is slightly more complicated than the Ethernet frame format because of the need to carry wireless-specific information, 802.11 security information, and at least one more MAC address which is used to identify the intended radio recipient separately from the MAC layer destination. This extra information is stripped off by the access point as it forwards the frame on a wired 802 LAN.

The 802.11 basic MAC mechanism, called Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA), is based on detecting and avoiding collisions with the transmissions of other devices. This is similar to the well-known Ethernet CSMA/CD protocol except that the Ethernet collision detection which could not be used reliably in a wireless medium has been replaced by a collision avoidance and positive acknowledgment scheme. Stations sense the wireless medium and only attempt to transmit when it appears to be idle.

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