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Since wireless signals propagate through the ether, they are significantly affected by attenuation, fading, multipath, and interference. As a result, it is difficult to measure and understand fundamental wireless network behavior. This creates a challenge for both network researchers, who often rely on simulators to evaluate their work, and network managers, who need to deploy and optimize operational networks. Given the complexity of wireless networks, both communities often rely on simplifying rules, which frequently have not been validated using today's wireless radios. In this paper, the authors undertake a detailed characterization of 802.11 link-level behavior using commercial 802.11 cards. Their study uses a wireless testbed that provides signal propagation emulation, giving one complete control over the signal environment.
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