Improving Marital Relationships (On the CWNP Blog?)

Improving Marital Relationships (On the CWNP Blog?)

By CWNP On 07/20/2012 - 23 Comments

It dawned on me the other day, “If I can learn to use the knowledge I have of 802.11 communications and apply it to my communications with my wife, maybe I can succeed in implementing a collision-free zone.” OK. It might be hard to remove all “collisions,” but we can certainly learn some important things about marital communications from the 802.11 standards. In this post, I will explain the first lesson I learned about married life from the 802.11 standard.

NOTE: All clause references are from 802.11-2012.

Listen Before You Talk

The first lesson is simple: we need to listen before we talk. IEEE 802.11 clause 9.2.2 states that, “The fundamental access method of the IEEE 802.11 MAC is a DCF known as a carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA/CA). The DCF shall be implemented in all STAs.” The DCF is a distributed coordination function, which simply means that the coordination or management of who talks when is distributed among the participating stations (STAs). Notice that the standard requires that the DCF shall be implemented in all STAs.
 
In a marriage, we must implement such a communications system. Otherwise, one of the partners will begin to feel overlooked and undervalued. The last thing we want is for our spouses to feel like a hidden node that simply never gets to communicate.
 
The CSMA/CA DCF works by first sensing the medium to determine if another STA is transmitting (9.2.2 paragraph 2). In the same way, we must listen before we talk. Now, the process of listening before we talk as humans is more complicated than just detecting sound waves in the air. Let me explain.
 

Two Kinds of Listening (Carrier Sense)

In the 802.11 standard, the carrier sense (CS) mechanism (defined in clause 9.3.2.1) used in DCF requires both physical and virtual functions. When either the physical or virtual function indicates a busy medium, the medium is considered busy; otherwise it is considered idle (clause 9.3.2.1 paragraph 1). The physical CS function literally evaluates the medium (the RF signals) to see if it is busy. The virtual CS function is implemented through timers.
 
To understand virtual CS, you have to understand that an 802.11 frame (the standard way to bundle and deliver information on the network) includes a duration field. The duration field indicates how long it will take to transmit the frame on the medium. All nice STAs will set their timers (NAV) to countdown based on this information in the duration field. When that countdown reaches 0, the STAs will wait a somewhat random period of time and then, if the medium is still idle, will transmit a frame.
 
Now, this has been a basic overview of CS mechanisms in an 802.11 WLAN, but it is enough to see how we can communicate better with our spouses. First, we need to listen to what they are saying and NOT interrupt them. This is equivalent to setting our internal timers so that we will not communicate while they are talking. I know, it’s hard to do, but it will help our communications massively.
 
In addition, we should look for the physical CS clearance. Because we have eyes and ears, we can both listen for silence and look for silence. You know the look. The one your spouse gives you to let you know you better think before you talk {smile}; yeah, that one.
 
In the end, if we implement a DCF in our marital relationships, we are much more likely to have high throughput and sustained connections. Think about.
 
Frames are food, Tom Tagged with: tom carpenter, dcf, carrier sense, csma/ca

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