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We identify two typical problems in WLAN hotspots that result in unbounded unfairness between upstream and downstream flows. The first unfairness problem arises due to the uniformity of the MAC layer protocol at the access point (AP) and user nodes that result in equal share to the AP and the user nodes but not to the individual flows. The second unfairness problem arises due to the inability of the physical layer to distinguish frame errors due to hidden terminal based collisions and frame errors due to poor signal strength. We present FairMAC, a deployable solution that addresses these unfairness problems without requiring a change to the 802.11 protocol. Thus, our solution is immediately deployable in the millions of currently operational hotspots. We evaluate the performance of our protocol using simulations and a prototype implementation. We show that FairMAC provides fair access to all the flows regardless whether they are originating at the AP or a host.
Date of Conference: 17-19 Oct. 2005