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The authors design a cross-layer approach to optimize the joint use of multi-packet reception and network coding, in order to relieve congestion. The authors construct a model for the behavior of the 802.11 MAC and apply it to several key canonical topology components and their extensions to any number of nodes. The results obtained from this model match the available experimental results, which are for routing and opportunistic network coding, with fidelity. Using this model, they show that fairness allocation by the MAC can seriously impact performance; hence, they devise a new MAC that not only substantially improves throughput relative to the current 802.11 MAC, but also provides fairness to flows of information rather than to nodes.
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