Multihop Routing Extension to the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Standard

Mustafa Ergen
(Professor Pravin P. Varaiya)
National Semiconductor and Office of Naval Research

Wireless communications have rapidly evolved in the recent decade. Increasing desire to provide connectivity for mobile computers and communication devices is firing an interest in wireless networks. Future communications will employ high speed wireless systems in the local area, low-speed wireless systems in the wide area, and utilize high capacity wired media in the metropolitan environment.

In order to achieve the goal of offering broadband communication services and providing universal connectivity to mobile users, the standards for wireless local area networks (WLANs) are designed and an approach to interconnect these WLANs to the existing wired LANs and wide area wireless network are developed. Study group 802.11 was formed under an IEEE project to recommend an international standard for WLANs. The scope of the 802.11 study group is to develop MAC and physical layer standards for wireless connectivity within a local area. IEEE adopted the first standard [1] in 1997 and revised it in 1999.

Although IEEE 802.11 can be extended to a multihop architecture, currently, it is implemented for a single hop architecture. Building a large number of access points (APs), for example, in a metropolitan area with a dense population, has a high cost. In fact, there are other kinds of networks, namely, packet radio or ad hoc networks, in which no APs are needed. One of the advantages of these networks is low cost because no infrastructure is needed and the networks can be deployed instantly. However, these ad hoc networks may be limited to specialized applications, such as battlefields and traveling groups, due to the vulnerability of paths with many possible mobile stations. Nevertheless, this vulnerability can be greatly reduced if the number of wireless hops can be limited and the station mobility is not high.

This project is concerned with a proposal to give mobile stations forward information when they are neither the initial transmitter nor the final receiver.

M. Ergen and A. Puri, "MEWLANA-Mobile IP Enriched Wireless Local Area Network Architecture," IEEE Vehicular Technology Soc., Vancouver, Canada, September 2002.

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