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This paper presents our experiences with SoftToken protocol, a new contention-free medium access control protocol for wireless local area network. This new mechanism adds a token-passing procedure on top of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.11 for coordinating transmissions and avoiding collisions. With this extension, it becomes possible to offer differentiated services in a deterministic manner. In this paper, we provide a thorough performance evaluation of SoftToken in terms of its scalability, robustness and efficiency in comparison with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.11 and a time division multiple access (TDMA)-based Wi-Fi extension called Soft-TDMA. Our evaluation is based on experiments run on different test beds covering different scenarios in a wired virtual network environment and practical wireless environments supporting different types of traffic. The results show that SoftToken indeed provides better QoS performance in scenarios that require service differentiation (e.g. mixed voice over Internet protocol and best effort traffic scenarios). Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.