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WiFi - Steps for clients to connect


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I see questions from people who do not understand how open authentication works for WiFi.  Hopefully the steps below can help address some of the questions and serve as a small tutorial.

There are 3 parts of the process for a client to connect and transmit data on a wireless network.  They are the probe stage, Authentication stage and Association stage.  In documentation the client is the station or STA for short.  The access point is AP.

STA --- Probe Request --> AP
STA <-- Probe Reponse --- AP
STA --- Authentication Request --> AP
STA <-- Authentication Process --> AP
STA <-- Authentication Response --- AP
STA --- Association Request --> AP
STA <-- Association Response --- AP

1.1 STA sends a probe on all channels to find the AP (ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff)
1.2 APs in range answer the probe request
2.1 STA authenticates to the AP - the strongest signal wins
2.2 Authentication process takes place
2.3 AP sends a response to the authentication (success or failure)
3.1 STA sends association request
3.2 AP sends association response
3.3 STA now has communication ability with network

Data exchanges do not happen until this entire process completes

I hope this can help some people

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