Many of the simulations reported in wireless networking literature contain several abstractions at the physical layer and the corresponding channel models. In particular, the basic simulation unit assumed in such simulations is the frame (or packet), which omits considerations of the signal processing details at the physical layer, such as frame construction and reception. Due to this abstraction, available channel models for network simulators are applied to frames as a whole and cannot reflect properly the effects of fast fading or frequency-selective channels. Moreover, it is not possible to study the mechanisms of the physical layer and their impact on higher layers such as the MAC. Therefore, we propose to address the lack of accurate physical layer representation in modern network simulators by incorporating a physical layer emulator for OFDM-based IEEE~802.11 communications into the popular NS-3 simulator. In this paper, we outline the architecture of the physical layer emulator and present initial results which highlight the promise of the new architecture in providing more detailed simulations to the networking community. The additional memory and computational requirements of the new model are also discussed.
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