On the Performance Bounds of Practical Wireless Network Coding

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Executive Summary

Network coding is an attracting technology that has been shown to be able to improve the throughput of wireless networks. However, there still lacks fundamental understanding on how network coding works under realistic scenarios. In this paper, the authors examine the performance of a recently proposed network coding system under a realistic wireless physical layer and practical random access mechanisms. They propose a key performance measure called "Encoding number" - the number of packets that can be encoded via network coding in each transmission. They provide an upper bound on the encoding number for the general coding topology, and derive the average encoding number and system throughput for a general class of random access mechanisms.

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