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A hybrid reservation/contention-based MAC for video streaming over wireless networks

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5 Author(s)
Ruonan Zhang ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada ; Rukhsana Ruby ; Jianping Pan ; Lin Cai
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To reserve or not for bursty video traffic over wireless access networks has been a long-debated issue. For uplink transmissions in infrastructure-based wireless networks and peer-to-peer transmissions in mesh or ad-hoc networks, reservation can ensure the Quality-of-Service (QoS) provisioning at the cost of a lower degree of resource utilization. Contention-based Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols are more flexible and efficient in sharing resources by bursty traffic to achieve a higher multiplexing gain, but the performance may degrade severely when the network is congested and collisions occur frequently. More and more wireless standards adopt a hybrid approach, which allows the coexistence of resource reservation and contention-based MAC protocols. However, how to cost-effectively support video traffic using hybrid MAC protocols is still an open issue. In this paper, we first propose how to use hybrid MAC protocols to support video streaming over wireless networks. Then, we quantify the performance of video traffic over wireless networks with contention-only, reservation-only, and hybrid MAC protocols, respectively. Admission regions for video streams with these three approaches are obtained. Using the standard WiMedia MAC protocols as an example, extensive simulations with a commonly-used network simulator (NS-2) and real video traces are conducted to verify the analysis. The analytical and simulation results reveal the tradeoff between reservation and contention-based medium access strategies, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the hybrid approach.

Published in:

IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 3 )