In the 802.11 MAC, there are several parameters such as the RTS/CTS threshold, Binary Backoff timers and NAV (Network Allocation Vector) timers to name a few.

Is it possible to obtain information about these parameters in real time at the application layer? In other words, let's say that there's a computer that is receiving data via a Wifi chipset. Is it possible for an application running on the computer to access information about the NAV timer (for example) in real time, and then make decisions accordingly? Or is it that such decisions can only be made at the MAC layer?

  • \$\begingroup\$ wouldn't that depend on the actual 802.11 hardware? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure. That is my question though - Can the hardware be configured to allow information exchange between MAC and Application Layers in real time? \$\endgroup\$
    – V-Red
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ define "real time"! For some, that is "within a few milliseconds", for others it's "before the ack to a specific frame type needs to be sent", and the second is typically impossible (which is why that kind of MAC functionality is typically part of the hardware's firmware, while higher-order MAC logic resides in the driver/OS). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, certainly not in seconds. I would say at most 3ms. \$\endgroup\$
    – V-Red
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ well, then, if your device allows that, it's certainly possible. 3ms is pretty close to eternity. Not all devices give you low-level access, but the common ath9 chipsets do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 15:39


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