Modelling Throughput and Starvation in 802.11 Wireless Networks With Multiple Flows

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Executive Summary

Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) protocols require stations that wish to transmit to first check the shared medium for ongoing transmissions. However, in wireless networks stations may not be able to sense transmissions from all other stations; hence those at different locations can experience different amounts of contention, resulting in unfairness and possible "Starvation" (Inability to acquire channel access for long periods). In this paper the authors model how the 802.11 MAC protocol allocates bandwidth among multiple saturated flows in a linear topology when not all senders are within sensing range. They consider a specific class of topologies consisting of n independent flows, where each sender can sense k neighbors on either side.

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