Wireless MAC Processors: Programming MAC Protocols on Commodity Hardware

Pierluigi Gallo, Domenico Garlisi, Ilenia Tinnirello, Fabrizio Giuliano, Francesco Gringoli, Giuseppe Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Programmable wireless platforms aim at responding to the quest for wireless access flexibility and adaptability. This paper introduces the notion of wireless MAC processors. Instead of implementing a specific MAC protocol stack, Wireless MACprocessors do support a set of Medium Access Control ”commands” which can be run-time composed (programmed) through software defined state machines, thus providing the desired MAC protocol operation. We clearly distinguish from related work in this area as, unlike other works which rely on dedicated DSPs or programmable hardware platforms, we experimentally prove the feasibility of the wireless MAC processor concept over ultra cheap commodity WLAN hardware cards. Specifically, we reflash the firmware of the commercial Broadcom AirForce54G off-the-shelf chipset, replacing its 802.11 WLAN MAC protocol implementation with our proposed extended state machine execution engine. We prove the flexibility of the proposed approach through three use-case implementation examples.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Wireless MAC Processors: Programming MAC Protocols on Commodity Hardware'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this