Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: May 2017

12 - Channel Allocation for Infrastructure-Based 802.11 WLANs

from Part IV - Link Layer Resource Allocation in Wireless Networks



Due primarily to its unlicensed frequency band of operation and low-cost equipment, the IEEE 802.11-based wireless access technology, also known as WiFi, has been widely deployed in local area networks (LANs). A typical deployment of this technology is shown in Figure 12.1. Based on how they are managed, wireless LANs (WLANs) can be categorized into one of the following: (1) Centrally managed or (2) Uncoordinated [2]. Centrally managed deployments are usually seen in places such as university campuses, offices, or airports where all access points (APs) and associated clients are managed by a central entity. On the other hand, uncoordinated WLANs operate in the absence of a central control and are typical in places such as residential neighborhoods or private hotspots managed by different service providers (e.g., restaurants, coffee shops, etc.).

Successful deployment in either case requires efficient mechanisms for addressing performance issues such as excessive interference, which usually translates into low throughputs. In the literature, several techniques have been proposed to address such performance issues. In particular, association control (or load balancing), in which a central entity associates (respectively, disassociates) clients with (respectively, from) APs in order to balance traffic in a network, is usually proposed for the centrally managed deployments [3]. Proposed for the uncoordinated deployments, on the other hand, are such techniques as power control [4] and careful carrier-sensing [5], in which transmission power is dynamically tuned and unnecessary carrier sensing is avoided, respectively. One other technique that is extensively considered and applicable to both centrally managed and uncoordinated environments is channel assignment, in which a frequency channel is assigned to each AP for use for a certain duration of time. In this chapter, we present a survey of such channel assignment techniques. We identify and discuss several major approaches applicable to the different deployment scenarios. Subsequently, a qualitative comparison is made among these approaches. Some comments on current practice in channel assignment are also presented. Finally, several important future research directions are outlined.

[1] S., Chieochan, E., Hossain, and J., Diamond, “Channel assignment schemes for infrastructurebased 802.11 WLANs: A survey,” in IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 12, no. 1, First Quarter 2010, pp. 124–136.
[2] A., Mishra and V., Shrivastava, D., Agrawal, S., Banerjee, and S., Ganguly, “Distributed channel management in uncoordinated wireless environments,” in Proc. International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, 2006, pp. 170–181.
[3] Y., Bejerano, S., Han, and L., Li, “Fairness and load balancing in wireless LANs using association control,” in Proc. ACM Mobicom, 2004, pp. 315–329.
[4] A., Akella, G., Judd, S., Seshan, and P., Steenkiste, “Self-management in chaotic wireless deployments,” in Proc. ACM Mobicom, 2005, pp. 185–199.
[5] A., Vasan, R., Ramjee, and T., Woo, “Echos: Enhanced capacity 802.11 hotspots,” in Proc. IEEE Infocom, 2005.
[6] “IEEE Standard for information technology-telecommunications and information exchange between systems-local and metropolitan area networks-specific requirements – Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications,” IEEE STD 802.11-2007 (Revision of IEEE Std 802.11-1999), June 12, 2007, pp. C1–1184.
[7] “Supplement to IEEE standard for information technology telecommunications and information exchange between systems – local and metropolitan area networks – specific requirements. Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications: High-Speed physical layer in the 5 GHz band,” IEEE STD 802.11a-1999, 1999.
[8] “List of WLANs channels,”
[9] I., Katzela and M., Naghshineh, “Channel assignment schemes for cellular mobile telecommunication systems: A comprehensive survey,” IEEE Personal Communications, June 1996, pp. 10–31.
[10] W. K., Hale, “Frequency assignment: Theory and applications,” in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 68, 1980, pp. 1497–1514.
[11] P., Mahonen, J., Riihijarvi, and M., Petrova, “Automatic channel allocation for small wireless local area networks using graph colouring algorithm approach,” in Proc. of the IEEE Int. Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications, Sept. 2004, pp. 536– 539.
[12] A., Mishra, V., Brik, S., Banerjee, A., Srinivasan, and W., Arbaugh, “A client-driven approach for channel management in wireless LANs,” in Proc. of the 25th IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM'06), 2006.
[13] J. K., Chen, G. D., Veciana, and T. S., Rappaport, “Improved measurement-based frequency allocation algorithms for wireless networks,” in Proc. of the IEEE GLOBECOM 2007,Washington, DC, Nov. 2007.
[14] M., Gast, 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide. 2nd ed. O'Reilly, 2005.
[15] A., Hills, “Large-scale wireless LAN design,” IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 39, no. 11, Nov. 2001, pp. 98–107.
[16] R. C., Rodrigues, G. R., Mateus, and A. A. F., Loureiro, “On the design and capacity planning of a wireless local area network,” IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium, 2000.
[17] Y., Lee, K., Kim, and Y., Choi, “Optimization of AP placement and channel assignment in wireless LANs,” in Proc. of the 27th Annual IEEE Conf. Local Computer Networks, Nov. 2002, pp. 831–836.
[18] P., Wertz, M., Sauter, F., Landstorfer, G., Wolfle, and R., Hoppe, “Automatic optimization algorithms for the planning of wireless local area networks,” in Proc. of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, vol. 4, Sept. 2004, pp. 3010–3014.
[19] X., Ling and K. L., Yeung, “Joint access point placement and channel assignment for 802.11 wireless LANs,” in Proc. of the IEEE WCNC'05, 2005.
[20] G., Bianchi, “Performance analysis of IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function,” IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 18, Mar. 2000, pp. 535–547.
[21] A., Eisenblatter, H. F., Geerdes, and I., Siomina, “Integrated access point placement and channel assignment for wireless LANs in an indoor office environment,” in Proc. of the 8th IEEE Intl. Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks, June 2007.
[22] “Official IEEE 802.11 Working Group project timelines: IN-PROCESS standards, amendments, and recommended practices,” 802.11_Timelines.htm
[23] J., Riihijarvi, M., Petrova, and P., Mahonen, “Frequency allocation for WLANs using graph colouring techniques,” in Proc. of the 2nd Annual Conference on Wireless On-demand Network Systems and Services 2005, Jan. 2005, pp. 19–21.
[24] J., Riihijarvi, M., Petrova, P., Mahonen, and J. A., Barbosa, “Performance evaluation of automatic channel assignment mechanism for IEEE 802.11 based on graph coloring,” in Proc. of the 17th Annual IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications, Sept. 2006, pp. 1–5.
[25] M., Achanta, “Method and apparatus for least congested channel scan for wireless access points,” U.S. Patent No. 20060072602, Apr. 2006.
[26] K. K., Leung and B.-J., Kim, “Frequency assignment for IEEE 802.11 wireless networks,” in Proc. of IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, vol. 3, Oct. 2003, pp. 1422–1426.
[27] M., Yu, H., Luo, and K. K., Leung, “A dynamic radio resource management technique for multiple APs in WLANs,” IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, vol. 5, July 2006, pp. 1910–1919.
[28] F., Cali, M., Conti, and E., Gregori, “Dynamic tuning of the IEEE 802.11 protocol to achieve a theoretical throughput limit,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, vol. 8, Dec. 2000, pp. 785–799.
[29] M., Yu and H., Luo, “An adaptive radio resource management technique for APs in WLANs,” in Proceedings, 12th IEEE International Conference on Networks (ICON' 2004), Nov. 2004.
[30] A., Mishra, S., Banerjee, and W., Arbaugh, “Weighted coloring based channel assignment for WLANs,” ACM SIGMOBILE Mobile Computing and Communications Review, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005, pp. 19–31.
[31] R., Akl and A., Arepally, “Dynamic channel assignment in IEEE 802.11 networks,” in Proc. of the IEEE International Conference on Portable Information Devices (PORTABLE'07), 2007.
[32] M., Haidar, R., Akl, and H., Al-Rizzo, “Channel assignment and load distribution in a powermanaged WLAN,” in Proc. of the IEEE PIMRC: 18th Annual IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications, Sept. 2007.
[33] H., Al-Rizzo, M., Haidar, R., Akl, and Y., Chan, “Enhanced channel assignment and load distribution in IEEE 802.11 WLANs,” in Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Signal Processing and Communication, Nov. 2007.
[34] A., Mishra, V., Shrivastava, S., Banerjee, and W., Arbaugh, “Partially overlapped channels not considered harmful,” in ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, vol. 34, no. 1, 2006, pp. 63–74.
[35] “Online Help for Cisco IOS Release 12.2(15)JA,” access_points/online_help/eag/122-15.JA/1400br/h_ap_network-if_802-11_c.html
[36] “Improving wireless connectivity for your users,” businesswp_4AA45077ENW.pdf
[37] “Method and system for client-driven channel management in wireless communication networks,”
[38] Z., Khan, H., Ahmadi, E., Hossain,M., Coupechoux, L. A., DaSilva, and J., Lehtomaki, “Carrier aggregation/channel bonding in next generation cellular networks: Methods and challenges,” IEEE Network, Special Issue on “Unveiling 5G Wireless Networks: Emerging Research Advances, Prospects, and Challenges,” vol. 28, no. 6, Nov.–Dec. 2014, pp. 34–40.
[39] LTE-U Forum,