Networking Investigate

Simple Yet Efficient, Transparent Airtime Allocation for TCP in Wireless Mesh Networks

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Executive Summary

Previous work has shown that TCP flows can starve in a multi-hop wireless mesh network because they fail to effectively contend for the channel. In this paper, the authors explore a simple yet effective technique that explicitly allocates airtime to each active pair of communicating neighbors in a wireless neighborhood so that starvation is avoided. The explicit allocation is efficient, redistributing unused airtime and also accounting for airtime rendered unusable by external interference. The technique is also transparent to TCP/IP and the 802.11 MAC, requiring no modifications to either of these, and is responsive to short flows, MAC-layer auto rate adaptation, and other dynamics, as they demonstrate in extensive experiments on two indoor testbeds.

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