A wireless access point and multiple wireless terminals exchange utilization, status, mobility and reception characteristics. Each wireless terminal generates reception characteristics based on transmissions received from the wireless access point and from other devices in the network. In one operating mode, the characteristics gathered by the wireless devices are forwarded to the wireless access point, and, based on all received characteristics, the wireless access point selects its own transmission power for different types of the transmission. In another mode, all characteristics are exchanged between every wireless terminal and the access point so that each can independently or cooperatively make transmission power control decisions. In a further mode, the wireless access point adjusts protocol parameters based on an assessment of the characteristics received from the client devices. The utilization, status, mobility, and reception characteristics include received signal strength, error rates, estimated battery life, availability of unlimited power, active versus sleep mode ratios, anticipated bandwidth utilization, coding schemes available, deterministic/non-deterministic requirements, encryption and security requirements, quality of service requirements, position, velocity, stationary status, etc. Gathering of such characteristics involves both retrieval of preset parameters from memory and generating parameters based on received transmissions (including test packets).