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Achieving MAC-Layer Fairness in CSMA/CA Networks

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3 Author(s)
Ying Jian ; Google, Mountain View, CA, USA ; Ming Zhang ; Shigang Chen

We demonstrate that CSMA/CA networks, including IEEE 802.11 networks, exhibit severe fairness problem in many scenarios, where some hosts obtain most of the channel's bandwidth while others starve. Most existing solutions require nodes to overhear transmissions made by contending nodes and, based on the overheard information, adjust local rates to achieve fairness among all contending links. Their underlying assumption is that transmissions made by contending nodes can be overheard. However, this assumption holds only when the transmission range is equal to the interference range, which is not true in reality. As our study reveals, the overhearing-based solutions, as well as several nonoverhearing AIMD solutions, cannot achieve MAC-layer fairness in various settings. We propose a new rate control protocol, called Proportional Increase Synchronized multiplicative Decrease (PISD). Without relying on overhearing, it provides fairness in CSMA/CA networks, particularly IEEE 802.11 networks, by using only local information and performing localized operations. It combines several novel rate control mechanisms, including synchronized multiplicative decrease, proportional increase, and background transmission. We prove that PISD converges and achieves (weighted) fairness. We further introduce Queue Spreading (QS) to achieve MAC-layer fairness when there are multiple contention groups, in which case PISD will fail.

Published in:

Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Oct. 2011

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