Infrastructure mode is an 802.11 networking framework in which devices communicate with each other by first going through an Access Point (AP). In infrastructure mode, wireless devices can communicate with each other or can communicate with a wired network. When one AP is connected to wired network and a set of wireless stations it is referred to as a Basic Service Set (BSS). An Extended Service Set (ESS) is a set of two or more BSSs that form a single subnetwork. Most corporate wireless LANs operate in infrastructure mode because they require access to the wired LAN in order to use services such as file servers or printers.
Compare with ad-hoc mode.