A hardware testbed for measuring IEEE 802.11g DCF performance

Symington, Andrew (2009)

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 80-84).


The Distributed Coordination Function (DCF) is the oldest and most widely-used IEEE 802.11 contention-based channel access control protocol. DCF adds a significant amount of overhead in the form of preambles, frame headers, randomised binary exponential back-off and inter-frame spaces. Having accurate and verified performance models for DCF is thus integral to understanding the performance of IEEE 802.11 as a whole. In this document DCF performance is measured subject to two different workload models using an IEEE 802.11g test bed. Bianchi proposed the first accurate analytic model for measuring the performance of DCF. The model calculates normalised aggregate throughput as a function of the number of stations contending for channel access. The model also makes a number of assumptions about the system, including saturation conditions (all stations have a fixed-length packet to send at all times), full-connectivity between stations, constant collision probability and perfect channel conditions. Many authors have extended Bianchi's machine model to correct certain inconsistencies with the standard, while very few have considered alternative workload models. Owing to the complexities associated with prototyping, most models are verified against simulations and not experimentally using a test bed. In addition to a saturation model we considered a more realistic workload model representing wireless Internet traffic. Producing a stochastic model for such a workload was a challenging task, as usage patterns change significantly between users and over time.