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WLAN Security Infrastructures terms



Integration Services
How great wireless is, there is always a wired network in a company. To deliver packages from the wireless network into the wired network, the 802.11 frames need to change to become 802.3 frame. The stripping of the header and trailer from an 802.11 MSDU frame is the task of the Integration Service. This service is within the access point or the Wireless LAN Controller (WLC). The integration service performs the same action for packages from wired to wireless.

Distribution System
One single access point has a basic service set, so if you want to roam from one to another access points you need a distribution system to connect the basic service set to create an extended service set. The Distribution System is used for traffic between the integration service and the wireless medium. There are two components within the DS.

Distribution System Medium is the 802.3 medium. This is the physical medium where the access point is connected. Distribution System Services is the software within the access point. This software is used for client associations and as well for reassociations and disassociations. It uses the Layer 2 medium to forward information (MSDU) to the above layers.

Management Plane
The management plane is the plane that is used for managing the network and monitoring the network. Within the wireless network the management plane is used for WLAN configurations like SSIDs and security, or the channel and power settings. It is used for monitoring and reporting, the client associations and the data rates, but also for the firmware management, and the possibility for upgrading.

Control Plane
The control plane is the plane that controls the network and has the intelligence and the network protocols, like routing and switching protocols. This is for interaction with the network, for example the roaming mechanism as fast roaming (like Opportunistic Key Caching). Radio resource management is a part of the control plane as well and load balancing from the clients. As said it is also where the protocols are like mesh protocols.

Data Plane
The data plane is the plane where the traffic is forwarded. This can be the standalone access point that handles all the traffic or in a centralized environment it is the WLC that is taking care of the forwarding of the data.