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Traditional rate adaptation solutions for IEEE 802.11 wireless networks perform poorly in congested networks. Measurement studies show that congestion in a wireless network leads to the use of lower transmission data rates and thus reduces overall network throughput and capacity. The lack of techniques to reliably identify and characterize congestion in wireless networks has prevented development of rate adaptation solutions that incorporate congestion information in their decision framework. To this end, our main contributions in this paper are two-fold. First, we present a technique that identifies and measures congestion in an 802.11 network in real time. Second, we design Wireless congestion Optimized Fallback (WOOF), a measurement-driven rate adaptation scheme for 802.11 devices that uses the congestion measurement to identify congestion related packet losses. Through experimental evaluation, we show that WOOF achieves up to 300% higher throughput in congested networks, compared to other well-known adaptation algorithms.