Quality of service (QoS) support for multimedia services in the IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN is an important issue for such WLANs to become a viable wireless access to the Internet. In this paper, we endeavor to propose a practical scheme to achieve this goal without changing the channel access mechanism. To this end, a novel call admission and rate control (CARC) scheme is proposed. The key idea of this scheme is to regulate the arriving traffic of the WLAN such that the network can work at an optimal point. We first show that the channel busyness ratio is a good indicator of the network status in the sense that it is easy to obtain and can accurately and timely represent channel utilization. Then we propose two algorithms based on the channel busyness ratio. The call admission control algorithm is used to regulate the admission of real-time or streaming traffic and the rate control algorithm to control the transmission rate of best effort traffic. As a result, the real-time or streaming traffic is supported with statistical QoS guarantees and the best effort traffic can fully utilize the residual channel capacity left by the real-time and streaming traffic. In addition, the rate control algorithm itself provides a solution that could be used above the media access mechanism to approach the maximal theoretical channel utilization. A comprehensive simulation study in ns-2 has verified the performance of our proposed CARC scheme, showing that the original 802.11 DCF protocol can statically support strict QoS requirements, such as those required by voice over IP or streaming video, and at the same time, achieve a high channel utilization.