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Figure 3 - Infrastructure Basic Service Set
Distribution System (DS) The distribution system (DS) is the means by which an access point communicates with another access point to exchange frames for stations in their respective BSSs, forward frames to follow mobile stations as they move from one BSS to another, and exchange frames with a wired network.
As IEEE 802.11 describes it, the distribution system is not necessarily a network nor does the standard place any restrictions on how the distribution system is implemented, only on the services it must provide. Thus the distribution system may be a wired network like 803.2 or a special purpose box that interconnects the access points and provides the required distribution services.
Extending coverage via an Extended Service Set (ESS) 802.11 extends the range of mobility to an arbitrary range through the Extended Service Set (ESS). An extended service set is a set of infrastructure BSSís, where the access points communicate amongst themselves to forward traffic from one BSS to another to facilitate movement of stations between BSSís.
The access point performs this communication through the distribution system. The distribution system is the backbone of the wireless LAN and may be constructed of either a wired LAN or wireless network.
Typically the distribution system is a thin layer in each access point that determines the destination for traffic received from a BSS. The distribution system determines if traffic should be relayed back to a destination in the same BSS, forwarded on the distribution system to another access point, or sent into the wired network to a destination not in the extended service set. Communications received by an access point from the distribution system are transmitted to the BSS to be received by the destination mobile station.
Network equipment outside of the extended service set views the ESS and all of its mobile stations as a single MAC-layer network where all stations are physically stationary. Thus, the ESS hides the mobility of the mobile stations from everything outside the ESS. This level of indirection provided by the 802.11 architecture allows existing network protocols that have no concept of mobility to operate correctly with a wireless LAN where there is mobility.
Figure 4 - Extended Service Set (ESS)
Edited by ong2lua, 08 June 2005 - 06:17 AM.