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Token-DCF: An Opportunistic MAC Protocol for Wireless Networks

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Executive Summary

IEEE 802.11 DCF is the MAC protocol currently used in wireless LANs. 802.11 DCF is inefficient due to two types of overhead; channel idle time and collision time. This paper presents the design and performance evaluation of an efficient MAC protocol for wireless networks, called Token-DCF. Token-DCF decreases both idle time and collision time. In Token-DCF, each station keeps track of neighboring links' queue length by overhearing of transmitted packets on the wireless medium. The result is then used to assign privileges to the network stations. A privileged station does not follow the backoff mechanism and transmits immediately after the channel is sensed idle. The authors' simulation results show that Token-DCF can significantly improve channel utilization, system throughput and channel access delay over 802.11 DCF.

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