Performance of IEEE 802.11 Based WLAN Devices Under Various Jamming Signals

Ilkka Harjula, Jarno Pinola, Jarmo Prokkola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


IEEE 802.11 based WLAN systems have gained interest to be used in the military and public authority environments, where the radio conditions can be harsh due to intentional jamming. The radio environment can be difficult also in commercial and civilian deployments since the unlicensed frequency bands are crowded. To study these problems, we built a test bed with a controlled signal path to measure the effects of different interfer-ing signals to WLAN communications. We use continuous wide-band noise jamming as the point of comparison, and focus on studying the effect of pulsed jamming and frequency sweep jam-ming. In addition, we consider also medium access control (MAC) interference. Based on the results, WLAN systems do not seem to be sensitive to the tested short noise jamming pulses. Under longer pulses, the effects are seen, and long data frames are more vulnerable to jamming than short ones. In fact, even a small amount of long frames in a data stream can ruin the per-formance of the whole link. Under frequency sweep jamming, slow sweeps with narrowband jamming signals can be quite harmful to WLAN communications. The results of MAC jam-ming show significant variation in performance between the dif-ferent devices: The clear channel assessment (CCA) mechanism of some devices can be jammed very easily by using WLAN-like jamming signals. As a side product, the study also revealed some countermeasures against jamming.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 - MILCOM 2011 Military Communications Conference
PublisherIEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4673-0081-0, 978-1-4673-0080-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-4673-0079-7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventMilitary Communications Conference, MILCOM 2011 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 7 Nov 201111 Nov 2011


ConferenceMilitary Communications Conference, MILCOM 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • pulse
  • sweep
  • continuous
  • tone
  • wideband
  • noise
  • interference
  • measurements
  • cross layer


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