802.11 Protocol Versions
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Thread: 802.11 Protocol Versions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Question 802.11 Protocol Versions

    Hey folks,

    In the 802.11 standard they list that in each frame header there is a 2-bit field called the Protocol Version. At the time of printing they state that the field should read 00 as there is only the basic protocol. At the time of 802.11b this was still the case.

    So as it stands, it seems to me that the other three cases 01, 10 and 11 are still reserved. Has this changed or is there still only the one protocol version?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    impossible for a new protocol version

    Since these two bits are in the MAC header, it means "MAC protocol version". So, what does "MAC protocol" cover, you may ask? Well, in a nutshell, it covers how to format the packets and then how to send/receive them the transmitters and the receivers. The later is known as the "frame exchange sequences", and is defined in Chapter 9 of the spec. So far, none of the amendments to the original 802.11 spec deviates from the original definition. 802.11a and 802.11b only deal with PHY and have absolutely no impact on the MAC layer at all. The most the other amendments do is to add a few new fields/sequences (as in 802.11g and 802.11i) on top of the existing fields/sequences, and use a "capability" to identify what a station can do. All the amendments include sections that address on how to be compatible with older equipments that know nothing about the new "capabilities".

    Frankly, I don't think there will ever be a new protocol version. The upcoming 802.11e will probably be the closest thing one can ever expect for not getting a new protocol version. It deviates so much from the original 802.11, adds so many sequences, and totally overhauls the meaning of several important fields in the original spec. If this thing doesn't get a new protocol version, nothing will.


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