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Enhancing Fairness for Short-Lived TCP Flows in 802.11b WLANs

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4 Author(s)
Bottigliengo, M. ; Dipt. di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino ; Casetti, C. ; Chiasserini, C. ; Meo, M.

The problem of providing throughput fairness in a wired-cum-wireless network where the wireless portion is an 802.11 wireless local area network (WLAN) is addressed. Due to the distributed nature of the primary 802.11 media access control protocol and the unpredictability of the wireless channel, quality of service guarantees in general and fairness in particular are hard to achieve in WLANs. This fact seriously compromises the interaction between 802.11-based networks and well-established architectures such as DiffServ. The focus of this paper is on transmission control protocol (TCP) traffic, and two fundamental problems related to throughput fairness are identified. First, the basic requirement of providing fair access to all users conflicts with the nature of TCP, which is fair only under certain conditions and hardly met by 802.11b WLANs. Second, short-lived TCP flows that are sensitive to losses during the early stages of TCP window growth need to be protected. To address these issues, a logical-link-control-layer algorithm that can be implemented at both access points and wireless stations is proposed. The algorithm aims at guaranteeing fair access to the medium to every user, independent of their channel conditions. At the same time, the proposed scheme protects short-lived flows, while they strive to get past the critical "small window regime." A simulation study that shows the effectiveness of the new algorithm in comparison to the standard 802.11b implementation is presented

Published in:

Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 1 )