Rate Adaptation Games in Wireless LANs: Nash Equilibrium and Price of Anarchy

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Executive Summary

In Wireless LANs, users may adapt their transmission rates depending on the observed radio conditions on their links to maximize their throughput. Recently, there has been a significant research effort in developing distributed rate adaptation schemes offering better performance than that of the current ARF (Automatic Rate Fallback). Unlike previous works, this paper characterizes the optimal reaction of a rate adaptation protocol to the contention information received from the MAC. The authors formulate this problem analytically. They study both competitive and cooperative user behaviors: In the case of competition, users selfishly adapt their rates so as to maximize their own throughput, whereas in the case of cooperation they aim at adapting their rates to maximize the overall system throughput.

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