Successive Interference Cancellation: A Back-of-the-Envelope Perspective

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Executive Summary

Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) is a physical layer capability that allows a receiver to decode packets that arrive simultaneously. While the technique is well known in communications literature, emerging software radios are making practical experimentation feasible. This motivates the authors to study the extent of throughput gains possible with SIC from a MAC layer perspective. Contrary to the initial expectation, the authors find that the gains from SIC are not easily available in many realistic situations. Moreover, they observe that the scope for SIC gets squeezed by the advances in bitrate adaptation, casting doubt on the future of SIC based protocols.

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