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Detailed Analysis of TCP Fairness Issues in IEEE 802.11 Networks and Their Solution Using a Rate Control Approach

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Executive Summary

In this paper, the authors study the problem of maintaining fairness for TCP connections in Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) based upon the IEEE 802.11 standard. Current implementations of 802.11 use the so-called Distributed Coordination Function (DCF) which provides similar medium access priority to all stations. Although this mode of operation ensures fair access to the medium at the MAC level, it does not provide any provisions for ensuring fairness among the TCP connections. TCP unfairness may result in significant degradation of performance leading to users perceiving unsatisfactory quality of service. They propose and analyze two solutions that are capable of enabling TCP fairness with minimal additional complexity.

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