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In wireless systems, random access refers to any multiple access communication protocol where the users autonomously decide whether or not to transmit depending on their own traffic requirements and estimates of the network load. While random access is best known for its use in packet data communication in wireless Local Area Networks (LANs), this paper considers random access for simple on-off messaging. On-off random access signaling can be used for a variety of control tasks in wireless networks such as user presence indication, initial access, scheduling requests and paging. Random on-off signaling is already used for some of these tasks in current cellular systems.
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