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IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs (WLANs) is widely recognized as a complementary technology to cellular access networks in hot-spot areas due to its lower cost and higher data rates. Different interworking approaches are being studied, but one common element is considered by all of them: mobile devices can include capabilities for connecting through both access technologies, allowing the best option to be chosen depending on the availability at a specific moment. However, several challenges need to be addressed in order to achieve seamless integration of WLAN and cellular systems in such a mobile device. The IEEE 802.11e standard, which defines mechanisms to provide QoS in a WLAN, represents a basic step toward this integration, since it provides the means to support key applications such as voice over IP. The IEEE 802.11 power-save mode (PSM) is another necessary element for devices with severe battery limitations (e.g., cellular phones) in order to ensure reasonable battery duration. The resulting performance when both QoS and power-saving mechanisms are used together, however, is uncertain and requires further study. We analyze the implications of the interaction of the 802.11 PSM with 802.11e QoS mechanisms by determining if the desired QoS is still provided, detecting functionality conflicts, and quantifying the impact of the PSM upon the 802.11e QoS efficiency and system performance. The evaluation is performed via simulation.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2005