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NETW360 Week 3 Lab: Mixed 11b/11g WLAN Performance

Explanation and Background

Although the 802.11x standards are designed to work together to some extent, some of the compromises made to further this aim do, in fact, have their own prices to pay.

During the data gathering phase, the person designing an expansion to an existing wireless network has to pay particular attention to inventory legacy systems that may be required to be incorporated into the new network and to carefully document the consequences (if any) of leaving such legacy systems in place.

Possible consequences are the point of this lab where we will examine what happens to an 802.11g installation when a legacy 802.11b node becomes a part of the network and then leaves.

Objective

Compare the total achievable WLAN throughputs measured in a mixed 11b/11g WLAN and in an all-11g WLAN to study the performance degradation in 11g WLANs that support legacy nodes.

TCO 7

Given a wireless network containing one or more commonly reported problems, propose methods to diagnose and repair the network.

Methodology

• Create a wireless LAN where all the stations and access point are operating at the 11g data rate of 54 Mbps.

• Make the stations generate traffic that is heavy enough to saturate the network to measure the highest aggregate throughput achieved in that 11g wireless LAN.

• Make all this traffic to flow in the uplink direction (i.e., to a destination that is outside of the wireless LAN) to prevent the access point being a bottleneck, and therefore, reducing the total throughput significantly.

• Configure a legacy station using 11b PHY while not generating any traffic that will roam and associate with the above described 11g WLAN for a certain period of the simulation.

• Compare the total achieved throughput in the 11g WLAN when the legacy node is associated and not associated with the WLAN’s access point.

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