802.11 Frame Types
WiFi frames come in three types, each containing several subtypes; control frames, data frames and management frames.
Control frames simply allow data exchange between stations, with Request to Send (RTS), Clear to Send (CTS) and Acknowledgement (ACK) frames facilitating communication with as little loss as possible. Frame loss is in inherent part of WiFi and control frames are intended to best coordinate shared usage of the available spectrum.
Data frames constitute the majority of WiFi communication, with the payload or frame body containing the actual TCP, UDP, or other packets. Since the basic data frame has a limit of 2312 bytes, the actual packets may be broken up into many fragments.
Management frames enable WiFi maintenance, such as advertising the presence of an access point as well as connecting to or disconnecting from such access point.