Tools and Techniques for Measurement of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks

Tools and Techniques for Measurement of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks

Feng Li, Mingzhe Li, Rui Lu, Huahui Wu, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki,

In Proceedings of the Second International Workshop On Wireless Network Measurement (WiNMee)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
April 3, 2006

With the growing popularity of wireless local area networks (WLANs) has come an increased need for effective measurements of real-world WLANs and their applications. This paper presents tools and techniques for measuring IEEE 802.11 WLANs. The techniques include details on setting up a PC as a wireless access point and building a wireless sniffer while the tools include programs for measuring link, network and application layer traffic. The tools are all open-source software available for download and the techniques all use open-source software and off-the-shelf hardware components. Together, these tools and techniques facilitate WLAN performance analysis across network layers in a flexible, accurate and cost-effective manner. To illustrate the usefulness of these tools and techniques for gathering WLAN measurements three case studies are presented: a streaming video session showing cross-layer performance; network characteristics of a wireless hand-held game; and measurements of access point queue size. Research employing these tools can yield more accurate WLAN models and more realistic evaluation of proposed WLAN changes in a network testbed.


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number CNS-0423362. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).