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We propose a powerful MAC/PHY cross-layer approach to measuring IEEE 802.11 transmission opportunities in WLAN networks on a per-link basis. Our estimator can operate at a single station and it is able to: 1) classify losses caused by noise, collisions, and hidden nodes; and 2) distinguish between these losses and the unfairness caused by both exposed nodes and channel capture. Our estimator provides quantitative measures of the different causes of lost transmission opportunities, requiring only local measures at the 802.11 transmitter and no modification to the 802.11 protocol or in other stations. Our approach is suited to implementation on commodity hardware, and we demonstrate our prototype implementation via experimental assessments. We finally show how our estimator can help the WLAN station to improve its local performance.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2010