Mobility Investigate

802.11 Arbitration

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Executive Summary

This whitepaper is intended to provide a thorough exploration of the channel access methods used in IEEE 802.11 WLANs. While the 802.11 standard specifies multiple subsets of functionality, not all of them are currently used in today's WLANs; therefore, this paper will address, in detail, only those mechanisms currently used in DCF and HCF implementations. Because the topic of 802.11 arbitration is multifaceted and often very confusing, this paper will attempt to explain these mechanisms in detail, dissecting the many components included in 802.11 channel accesses. Some details have been intentionally excluded due to the overwhelming depth of this material. After examining the details, this paper also provide a brief discussion of the applications and significance of understanding these functions as a WLAN professional.

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