IEEE 802.11r

What Does IEEE 802.11r Mean?

IEEE 802.11r is an amendment to the 802.11 standard for the deployment of IP-based telephony over 802.11-based phone devices. The IEEE 802.11r amendment is designed to increase handoff speed between access points in a wireless local area network (WLAN).


IEEE 802.11r serves as a fast-roaming standard that addresses connectivity and is critical to applications that require high quality and low latency, particularly Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

IEEE 802.11r is also known as the fast basic service set.

Techopedia Explains IEEE 802.11r

IEEE 802.11r was published in 2008 and enables wireless connectivity with secure and fast handoffs between base stations. The standard also refines the mobile client transition process between access points by redefining the security key negotiation protocol, which permits negotiations and requests for wireless resources. This protocol allows a wireless client to establish security and a Quality of Service (QoS) state at a new access point prior to a new transition, leading to minimal application disruption and connectivity loss. This protocol change does not introduce security vulnerabilities and preserves station behavior.

IEEE 802.11r’s key strength is IEEE 802.1X security support, which facilitates the deployment of portable phones with Session Initiation Protocol-based Voice over Wi-Fi. IEEE 802.11r begins operation when a mobile phone or device scans an area for available access points. IEEE 802.11 authentication messages are exchanged between access points, and the device waits for a response. Next, the device sends a reassociation message and then establishes an access point connection.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…