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Dynamic tuning of the IEEE 802.11 protocol to achieve a theoretical throughput limit

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3 Author(s)
Cali, F. ; Aleph, Pisa, Italy ; Conti, M. ; Gregori, Enrico

In wireless LANs (WLANs), the medium access control (MAC) protocol is the main element that determines the efficiency in sharing the limited communication bandwidth of the wireless channel. In this paper we focus on the efficiency of the IEEE 802.11 standard for WLANs. Specifically, we analytically derive the average size of the contention window that maximizes the throughput, hereafter theoretical throughput limit, and we show that: 1) depending on the network configuration, the standard can operate very far from the theoretical throughput limit; and 2) an appropriate tuning of the backoff algorithm can drive the IEEE 802.11 protocol close to the theoretical throughput limit. Hence we propose a distributed algorithm that enables each station to tune its backoff algorithm at run-time. The performances of the IEEE 802.11 protocol, enhanced with our algorithm, are extensively investigated by simulation. Specifically, we investigate the sensitiveness of our algorithm to some network configuration parameters (number of active stations, presence of hidden terminals). Our results indicate that the capacity of the enhanced protocol is very close to the theoretical upper bound in all the configurations analyzed

Published in:

Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 6 )