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We describe a new theoretical framework for determining fundamental performance limits of wireless ad hoc networks. The framework expands the traditional definition of Shannon capacity to incorporate notions of delay and outage. Novel tools are described for upper and lower bounding the network performance regions associated with these metrics under a broad range of assumptions about channel and network dynamics, state information, and network topologies. We also develop a flexible and dynamic interface between network applications and the network performance regions to obtain the best end-to-end performance. Our proposed framework for determining performance limits of wireless networks embraces an interdisciplinary approach to this challenging problem that incorporates Shannon Theory along with network theory, combinatorics, optimization, stochastic control, and game theory. Preliminary results of this approach are described and promising future directions of research are outlined.
Date of Publication: May 2011