For wireless devices to communicate over a network, they must first associate with an AP or wireless router. An important part of the 802.11 process is discovering a WLAN and subsequently connecting to it.
Management frames are used by wireless devices to complete the following three-stage process:
- Discover new wireless AP.
- Authenticate with AP.
- Associate with AP.
To associate, a wireless client and an AP must agree on specific parameters. Parameters must be configured on the AP and subsequently on the client to enable the negotiation of these processes.