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As the first step of the communication procedure in 802.11, an unwise selection of the Access Point (AP) hurts one client's throughput. This performance downgrade is usually hard to be offset by other methods like efficient rate adaptations. In this article, we study this AP selection problem in a decentralized manner with the objective of maximizing the minimal throughput among all clients. We reveal through theoretical analysis that the selfish strategy, which commonly applies in decentralized systems, cannot effectively achieve this objective. Accordingly, we propose an online AP association strategy that not only achieves a minimal throughput (among all clients) that is provably close to the optimum, but also works effectively in practice with a reasonable computation and transmission overheads. The association protocol applying this strategy is implemented on the commercial hardware and compatible with legacy APs without any modification. We demonstrate its feasibility and performance through real experiments and intensive simulations.
Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:PP , Issue: 99 )