802.11 Frame Types
In the IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN protocols (such as Wi-Fi), a MAC frame is constructed of common fields (which are present in all types of frames) and specific fields (present in certain cases, depending on the type and subtype specified in the first octet of the frame).
The very first two octets transmitted by a station is the Frame Control. The first three subfields within the frame control and the last field (FCS) are always present in all types of 802.11 frames. These three subfields consist of two bits Protocol Version subfield, two bits Type subfield, and four bits Subtype subfield. The remaining subfields can be present or absent depending on the setting of the Type and Subtype subfields.
The first three fields (Protocol Version, Type and Subtype) in the Frame Control field are always present. The fields, in their order of appearance in transmission, are:
- Protocol Version (currently is 0)
- Power Management
- More Data
- Protected Frame
Protocol Version Subfield
The 2-bits Protocol Version subfield is currently always set to 0, regardless of which 802.11 version is being used. The revision level is incremented only when there is a fundamental incompatibility between two versions of WLAN standard.
Types and SubTypes
B7 .. B4
|00||Management||1110||Action No Ack (NACK)|
|01||Control||0100||Beamforming Report Poll|
|01||Control||0101||VHT/HE NDP Announcement|
|01||Control||0110||Control Frame Extension|
|01||Control||1000||Block Ack Request (BAR)|
|01||Control||1001||Block Ack (BA)|
|01||Control||1111||CF-End + CF-ACK|
|10||Data||0100||Null (no data)|
|10||Data||1001||QoS Data + CF-ACK|
|10||Data||1010||QoS Data + CF-Poll|
|10||Data||1011||QoS Data + CF-ACK + CF-Poll|
|10||Data||1100||QoS Null (no data)|
|10||Data||1110||QoS CF-Poll (no data)|
|10||Data||1111||QoS CF-ACK + CF-Poll (no data)|
ToDS and FromDS
Set to 1 if the Data or Management frame is part retransmission of the earlier frame. This bit is reused for different purpose in Control frame.
It is one bit in length and is used for two purposes:
- It is set to 1 in a non-QoS data frame transmitted by a non-QoS WLAN station to indicate the frame being transmitted is using Strictly-Ordered service class (this use is obsolete and will be removed from the future 802.11 Standard).
- It is set to 1 in a QoS data or management frame transmitting at HT or higher rate to indicate that the frame contains HT Control field (see above)
IEEE 802.11bf is a mature standard that is capable to "to measure the range, velocity, direction, motion, presence, and proximity of people and objects". It is planned to enter into markets within 2024.
- "802.11 frames : A starter guide to learn wireless sniffer traces". community.cisco.com. October 25, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- 802.11 Working Group. "Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications". 2016. New York, NY: IEEE: 638. Cite journal requires
- Rapp, Dale (May 17, 2014). "THE TO DS AND FROM DS FIELDS". DALESWIFISEC. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
- "Status of Project IEEE 802.11bf".
- Restuccia, Francesco. "IEEE 802.11bf: Toward Ubiquitous Wi-Fi Sensing". arXiv:2103.14918.
- Claburn, Thomas (March 31, 2021). "Wi-Fi devices set to become object sensors by 2024 under planned 802.11bf standard". The Register.