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IEEE 802.11 WLANs provide multiple transmission rates to improve the system throughput by adapting the transmission rate to the current wireless channel conditions. Many rate adaptation schemes have been proposed because IEEE 802.11 WLAN standard does not contain any specifications for the rate adaptation scheme. In this paper, in order to overcome limitations of the previous research, we propose a new channel quality-based rate adaptation scheme. The proposed rate adaptation scheme, appropriately adjusts the data transmission rate based on the estimated wireless channel conditions, specifically the measured RSSI at the sender-side. Moreover it continuously updates the thresholds for selecting the transmission rate and selectively enforces the RTS/CTS exchange to adapt the changes in the wireless channel conditions. Through the performance evaluations, we prove that our rate adaptation scheme overcomes the limitations of the previous research and improves the wireless link utilization.