Opportunistic Use of Client Repeaters to Improve Performance of WLANs

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Executive Summary

Currently deployed IEEE 802.11WLANs (Wi-Fi Networks) share Access Point (AP) bandwidth on a per-packet basis. However, the various stations communicating with the AP often have different signal qualities, resulting in different transmission rates. This induces a phenomenon known as the rate anomaly problem, in which stations with lower signal quality transmit at lower rates and consume a significant majority of airtime, thereby dramatically reducing the throughput of stations transmitting at high rates. The authors propose a practical, deployable system, called Soft-Repeater, in which stations cooperatively address the rate anomaly problem. Specifically, higher-rate Wi-Fi stations opportunistically transform themselves into repeaters for stations with low data-rates when transmitting to/from the AP.

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