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In multi-hop wireless networks with Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA), unfairness may arise due to a number of reasons. A majority of the existing work focuses on fairness issues due to hidden terminals and the impact on back-off mechanisms. This paper focuses on the unfairness arising due to unequal contention opportunities at a node; some nodes rarely observe an idle channel since two or more interferers that are not in range with each other can transmit together. Contention unfairness is unrelated to hidden terminals. In order to understand the impact of contention and gain insight into developing solutions for contention unfairness, the authors develop a model from first principles for contention in IEEE 802.11 networks.
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