WLAN network services – find out about them.  A survey of 802.11 wireless network services.

What are WLAN network services?

WLAN network services

There are nine WLAN network services. Three of them are for data transfer, remaining six are for management operations. With services network can track stations and deliver frames accordingly.

Two Groups of WLAN Network Services

WLAN network services can be grouped in two groups:

  • Station services
  • Distribution system services

Every product that uses WLAN must incorporate the station services. They are provided by stations and access points. Distribution system services connect access points to the distribution system. Access point job is to connect wireless and wired part of the network. This is done by Distribution system services.

Nine WLAN Network Services

Service Station/distribution
Distribution Distribution
Integration Distribution
Association Distribution
Reassociation Distribution
Disassociation Distribution
Authentication Station
Deauthentication Station
Privacy Station
MDSU delivery Station

Let’s see description of all nine WLAN network services.


Mobile stations or wireless clients are using distribution when they send data. Access point uses the distribution service to deliver frame to the destination. Any communication towards access point and between stations in same BSS uses distribution service.


Integration service provide distribution system. It enables connection to wired networks.


Association is a registration of mobile stations to access point. You can’t have any traffic with your station, if you aren’t associated to the access point. With association you are “plugged” in the network.


Reassociation is a switching station to another access point. When a station moves within one extended service area, it needs to track signal strength. When the signal strength, from the associated access point, is too weak, station reassociates to other access point with better signal strength. When reassociation is finished, distribution system updates its location records.


Disassociation is termination of association. With disassociation, the station is disconnected from the network. Data about disassociated station has to be removed.


The wireless network doesn’t have the same level of physical security as wired networks. Wireless networks must use additional authentication routines to be sure that stations using this network are authorized to do so.

More about the wireless authentication you can read in Wireless Authentication and How to Ensure the Best Wireless Internet Security.


Deauthentication is terminates authentication. Deauthentication is termination of association.


WLAN networks use an optional privacy service called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). If you want to have physical access to a network, you need to pass WEP. Unfortunately, WEP doesn’t justify its name. It is very easy to crack WEP. It doesn’t take more than 2 minutes. WEP2 was also introduced, but attackers only need to spend more time for breaking it.

Don’t be afraid, I will show you much better options (802.1x and WPA) for security that are incomparable to WEP on what is WPA.

MSDU Delivery

MSDU delivery – MAC Service Data Unit delivery service is responsible for delivery data to the destination. With the WLAN network services you have better view of wireless processes.

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