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The accurate determination of the link quality is critical for ensuring that functionalities such as intelligent routing, load-balancing, power control and frequency selection operate efficiently. There are 4 primary metrics for capturing the quality of a wireless link: RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication), SINR (Signal-to-Interference-plus-Noise Ratio), PDR (Packet-Delivery Ratio), and BER (Bit-Error Rate). In this paper, we perform a measurement-based study in order to answer the question: which is the appropriate metric to use, and under what conditions? We evaluate the relative accuracy of each metric by conducting experiments with multiple transmission rates and varying levels of interference on a large set of links. We observe that each metric has advantages and projects one or more limitations. Our study suggests that a careful consideration of these limitations is essential, and provides guidelines on the applicability of each metric.
Date of Conference: 15-18 Sept. 2008