Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Doug Jacobson


Over the past few years, wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular. The dominant question facing the wireless network today is: how can the network meet the needs of various users and applications? Two basic and primary needs for users are efficiency and security. To deal with these two concerns, this dissertation investigates the two areas and proposes four MAC-level approaches for security and performance enhancement in IEEE 802.11.;In the first part, we propose three MAC-level approaches to improve the throughput performance in wireless LANs, i.e., the Freeze Counter scheme (FC), the Dynamically Adaptive Retransmission (DAR), and the Quick Acknowledgement (QA) scheme. The Freeze Counter scheme is an adaptive error recovery mechanism in 802.11, which can perform different actions according to the reasons for frame losses. Dynamically Adaptive Retransmission scheme is an enhanced feedback scheme in 802.11. We propose a Quick Acknowledgement (QA) scheme as a replacement for positive acknowledgement in IEEE 802.11. By using similar concepts as selective ACK and negative ACK, the proposed protocol solves the inefficiency problem of positive ACK in 802.11.;In the second part, we propose a lightweight statistical authentication protocol for wireless networks. With more and more applications on wireless networks, new concerns are raised when it comes to security issues. Authentication service particularly becomes one of the basic but necessary security measures for wireless applications. However, traditional authentication protocols for wired networks do not work well in a wireless environment due to unique characteristics. To meet this target, we propose a lightweight statistical authentication protocol for wireless networks, namely Shepherd. To solve the inherent out-of-sync problem with Shepherd protocol, we develop three synchronization schemes with their statistical methods. In Shepherd, the legitimacy of a mobile node is determined by continuously checking a series of random authentication bits where each bit in this stream is piggybacked by a packet. Such an authentication bit stream is generated by both mobile node and access point using the same random number generator under the same shared seed as a key. The complete evaluation and analysis of all proposed approaches have been discussed.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Hao-Li Wang



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

93 pages