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This paper explores the feasibility of designing an outdoor cellular network based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standard, which was originally developed for wireless local area networks. Specifically, the performance of the 802.11 radio and medium access control (MAC) protocol in outdoor environments is investigated. For channels typical in cellular networks, we study the radio link power budget and the bit error performance of three kinds of receivers. We also propose a new timing structure for the MAC protocol to handle increased signal propagation delay and analyze its throughput performance in the outdoor network. Our analysis shows that the MAC protocol can handle a cell radius of 6 km without violating the 802.11 standard. However, the link budget reveals that the maximum cell radius in an outdoor 802.11 network ranges from 0.4 to 1.2 km, which is about one third that supported by wideband code-division multiple access and enhanced data rates for global system for mobile communications evolution networks. For a root-mean-square delay spread of 1 mus, which is typical for urban-area cells of this size, our simulation results show that the conventional urban-area cells RAKE receiver can yield a satisfactory performance. Combining these results, we conclude that using ordinary equipment, an 802.11-based cellular network with a cell radius up to 1.2 km is feasible. It is possible to further extend the service range by advanced techniques such as smart antennas.