Information About 802.11v
The embedded wireless controller supports 802.11v amendment for wireless networks, which describes numerous enhancements to wireless network management.
One such enhancement is Network assisted Power Savings which helps clients to improve the battery life by enabling them to sleep longer. As an example, mobile devices typically use a certain amount of idle period to ensure that they remain connected to access points and therefore consume more power when performing the following tasks while in a wireless network.
Another enhancement is Network assisted Roaming which enables the WLAN to send requests to associated clients, advising the clients as to better APs to associate to. This is useful for both load balancing and in directing poorly connected clients.
Enabling 802.11v Network Assisted Power Savings
Wireless devices consume battery to maintain their connection to the clients, in several ways:
By waking up at regular intervals to listen to the access point beacons containing a DTIM, which indicates buffered broadcast or multicast traffic that the access point delivers to the clients.
By sending null frames to the access points, in the form of keepalive messages– to maintain connection with access points.
Devices also periodically listen to beacons (even in the absence of DTIM fields) to synchronize their clock to that of the corresponding access point.
All these processes consume battery and this consumption particularly impacts devices (such as Apple), because these devices use a conservative session timeout estimation, and therefore, wake up often to send keepalive messages. The 802.11 standard, without 802.11v, does not include any mechanism for the controller or the access points to communicate to wireless clients about the session timeout for the local client.
To save the power of clients due to the mentioned tasks in wireless network, the following features in the 802.11v standard are used:
Directed Multicast Service
Base Station Subsystem (BSS) Max Idle Period
Directed Multicast Service
Using Directed Multicast Service (DMS), the client requests the access point to transmit the required multicast packet as unicast frames. This allows the client to receive the multicast packets it has ignored while in sleep mode and also ensures Layer 2 reliability. Furthermore, the unicast frame is transmitted to the client at a potentially higher wireless link rate which enables the client to receive the packet quickly by enabling the radio for a shorter duration, thus also saving battery power. Since the wireless client also does not have to wake up at each DTIM interval in order to receive multicast traffic, longer sleeping intervals are allowed.
BSS Max Idle Period
The BSS Max Idle period is the timeframe during which an access point (AP) does not disassociate a client due to nonreceipt of frames from the connected client. This helps ensure that the client device does not send keepalive messages frequently. The idle period timer value is transmitted using the association and reassociation response frame from the access point to the client. The idle time value indicates the maximum time that a client can remain idle without transmitting any frame to an access point. As a result, the clients remain in sleep mode for a longer duration without transmitting the keepalive messages often. This in turn contributes to saving battery power.