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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 3096710, 15 pages
Research Article

Acknowledgement Corruption: A New Aspect of Physical Layer Capture in IEEE 802.11 Networks

Department of Computer Science, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Seung-Jae Han

Received 28 June 2017; Revised 10 December 2017; Accepted 9 January 2018; Published 15 February 2018

Academic Editor: Gianluigi Ferrari

Copyright © 2018 Jung-Han Han et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Even if a collision occurs in IEEE 802.11 network, a transmission may be successfully decoded at the receiver if the signal strength of one transmission is sufficiently stronger than the other transmission. This phenomenon is called “Physical Layer Capture” (PLC). While existing works have considered PLC between data frames, in this paper we investigate the case that an ACK frame collides with the unfinished transmission of other data frames after the occurrence of PLC between data frames. As a result of this collision, the ACK frame may be corrupted and the corresponding data frame needs to be retransmitted. We call this phenomenon “ACK Corruption” (AC). We identify the characteristic of AC via extensive experiments and simulations. Our study reveals that AC can occur in all IEEE 802.11 variants and its chance is dependent upon the relative signal strength between the stations and the MCS setting used. Further, we devise a way to avoid AC occurrence and evaluate its effectiveness.