ZigZag Decoding: Combating Hidden Terminals in Wireless Networks

Unknown author (2008-04-08)

This paper presents ZigZag, an 802.11 receiver that combats hidden terminals. ZigZag exploits 802.11 retransmissions which, in the case of hidden terminals, cause successive collisions. Due to asynchrony, these collisions have different interference-free stretches at their start, which ZigZag uses to bootstrap its decoding. ZigZag makes no changes to the 802.11 MAC and introduces no overhead when there are no collisions. But, when senders collide, ZigZag attains the same throughput as if the colliding packets were a priori scheduled in separate time slots. We build a prototype of ZigZag in GNU Radio. In a testbed of 14 USRP nodes, ZigZag reduces the average packet loss rate at hidden terminals from 82.3% to about 0.7%.