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In this paper we analyze the provisioning of multimedia services over a wireless LAN hot-spot, based on the IEEE 802.11 protocol. We address the issue of defining proper pricing strategies, from the perspective of both evaluating the technical performance and quantifying the economic revenues. We take into account a model for users' behavior that describes all users' choices in a decentralized manner, so that the transmission rate of each node is driven both by multimedia service requirements and by the customer's willingness to pay. The multiple users' medium access mechanism is studied through a simulation analysis based on ns-2. Within this model, the network performance is evaluated and discussed, presenting numerical results which can provide practical insight for pricing setup in a wireless LAN hot-spot. We observe that the impact of the pricing policy on the provider's income and on the satisfaction of the users is critical and especially depends on the shape of the pricing function (flat, linear or hybrid). Additionally, we investigate the provider's task of having a suitable price policy which properly tunes the tradeoff between the two contrasting factors of achieving high revenue and obtaining high satisfaction of the users.
Date of Publication: November 2008