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IEEE Begins Wireless LAN Standards Projects to Aid Interworking

The IEEE has begun work on two amendments to the IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless local area networks (WLAN). One will aid in interworking between IEEE 802.11 equipment and external networks and the other will enhance how network stations are managed. IEEE P802.11u, “Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: 802.11 Interworking with External Networks,” will harmonize the ability of 802.11 equipment and external networks to work together. The common wireless interworking framework it will provide will include protocol exchanges across the air interface and primitives to support the higher layer interactions involved. IEEE P802.11v, “Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Network Management,” will create a complete and coherent upper layer interface for managing IEEE 802.11 devices in wireless networks. It will allow stations to perform management functions, such as monitoring, configuring and updating, in either a centralized or distributed manner through a layer 2 mechanism. It will also reconfigure the current management information base to accommodate greater device complexity. IEEE 802 standards form a family of specifications that define how WLAN equipment should be produced so equipment from different manufacturers can work together.

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