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ESS - Extended Service Set

By: Christine Martz

Meaning of ESS - "Extended Service Set", is a basic configuration of a wireless local area network, or WLAN, is comprised of an Access Point (AP) and at least one wireless node.  This is called a BSS, or Basic Service Set. All communications to and from the wireless node travel through the AP. In order to increase the range and coverage of a wireless network more APs need to be tactically placed within the network environment to increase the density of the Access Points. This is referred to as an Extended Service Set (ESS). A distribution system (DS) connects all the APs together, forwarding network traffic and allowing for the movement of mobile wireless stations within a much wider area.

ESS follows the WLAN 802.11 specifications. WLAN 802.11 refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN technology. IEEE, the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers, a professional organization whose activities include the development of communications and network standards, accepted the 802.11 specification in 1997.

Other Related Definitions: 

“…An extended service set (ESS) is a set of infrastructure BSSs that appear as a single BSS. This is important for connection redundancy but has some security issues that need to be addressed.” [Gert Schauwers – Cisco Press]

 “…When several base stations are connected via a network backbone, an ESS (Extended Service Set) is formed, made up of the respective BSSs (cells) of the base stations involved. Internet connection is thus available to 802.11b devices via the access points.” [Foo Joon Lek -]

“…A set of one or more interconnected basic service sets (BSSs) and integrated local area networks (LANs) that appears as a single BSS to the logical link control layer at any station associated with one of those BSSs.” [John Edney – Nokia]

Related Links: 

Cisco Network Security Fundamentals
Wireless technology resources from O’Reilly

Technical Resources:

I802.11 Standards from IEEE

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Tech Target
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Books About:

802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly Networking) by Matthew Gast
Wi-Fi Handbook : Building 802.11b Wireless Networks by Frank Ohrtman, Konrad Roeder

See Also:

ESS Resources


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