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At present, wireless local area networks (WLANs) such as HiperLAN2 and 802.11a are being developed and deployed around the world. In this letter, the use of sectorized antennas is considered as a means to improve the physical layer performance of WLANs. Results demonstrate that throughput and range can be enhanced and/or the transmit power can be reduced. However, these benefits are achieved with a small increase in multiple access protocol overhead. Simulations are performed using measured wideband channels in the 5-GHz band. In cases where the channel exhibits strong Rician characteristics, gains as high as 13 dB are demonstrated. These benefits substantially outweigh the associated medium access control overhead.