On Scaling the IEEE 802.11 to Facilitate Scalable Wireless Networks

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Executive Summary

The IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol has gained widespread popularity and has been adopted as the de-facto layer 2 protocol for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). However, it is well known that as the number of competing stations increases, the performance of the protocol degrades dramatically. Given the explosive growth in WLANs' usage, the question of how to sustain each user's perceived performance when a large number of competing stations are present, is an important and challenging open research problem. Using theoretical analysis coupled with extensive simulations the authors show that such a set of parameters exists, and that the minimum scaling factor is equal to the factor by which the number of users increases.

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