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The family of IEEE 802.11 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) standards supports multiple transmission rates in the PHYsical layer (PHY). This multi-rate capability offers a viable means of coping with dynamically-fluctuating wireless channel conditions. The authors propose a cross-layer approach for the optimal PHY mode control to maximize the system goodput. The key idea is to exploit the underlying channel fading characteristics and the history of PHY mode control and observations to infer the current channel condition, so that the optimal PHY mode may be selected. Assuming Rayleigh fading, they describe the receiver-side Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) fluctuations as a Finite-State Markov Channel (FSMC) model.
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