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NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

Feasibility Analysis for the Network Administrator to convert from 802.11g to 802.11n Access Points
CSC/ECE 570
Shaunak Bhatt(ssbhatt), Ravi Teja Mallajosyula(rmallaj) and Pratik Bosamiya(pvbosami) 12/3/2011

Introduction: In the current scenario the networks contains all 802.11g access points. The users have devices which are 802.11g enabled. Now as 802.11n is catching up in the market the network administrator contemplates of switching to 802.11n by replacing all the present access points with it. Now as in the beginning very few or number of users will have 802.11n enabled devices the conversion will not result into higher throughput as the replaced access point will have to work with all the 802.11g features. So he wants to find out at what time he should switch to the newer version of 802.11 so as to take advantage of the newer technologies without sacrificing the performance of the network. IEEE 802.11 is a set of standards for implementing wireless local area network computer communication in the 2.4, 3.6 and 5GHz frequency bands. They are created and maintained by the IEEE Standards Committee. The family consists of various modulation techniques and the most popular ones are 802.11g and 802.11b but slowly 802.11n which was first released in 2007 is also gaining popularity in the market. Due to usage of 2.4 GHz ISM band by 802.11g and 802.11b occasionally it suffers interference from devices like microwave ovens, bluetooth and wireless phones. 802.11n however also operates in 5GHz in addition to the 2.5GHz frequency range. 802.11 g was introduced in 2003 to provide faster data rates to the a existent 802.11 b, it was developed on the basis of 802.11a using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing and providing much higher data rates upto 54 Mbps. 802.11g hardware is fully backwards compatible with 802.11b hardware. In an 802.11g network, however the presence of a legacy 802.11b participant will significantly reduce the speed of the overall 802.11g network [reference]. The success of the standard has led to density related problems, only 3 non-overlapping channels are available and so the neighboring networks get a reduced data rates even though higher are possible. 802.11n was the first standard to introduce the concept of multiple input multiple output (MIMO) streams. 802.11n operates on both 2.4Ghz and 5 Ghz bands. The standard uses mechanisms like MIMO-OFDM, Aggregation, Block ACK and Reverse direction to achieve higher throughput and better performance. One of the major enhancements is the introduction of QOS which is lacking in the legacy IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol. 802.11n also offers better range over earlier standards due to its increased signal intensity. It is claimed in white paper published by CISCO that 802.11n will solve the problems when the user density is high and will be the only way in which future applications which depend highly on multimedia streaming can be supported. The main aim of the experiments done in the Part 1 is to evaluate in depth how 802.11n subnets behave in presence of 802.11g devices that are very prevalent in todays world and way in which the performance in these kind of situations be improved. In the second part we evaluate the effectiveness of 802.11g and 802.11n networks in presence of Voice (heavy load) by varying the number of nodes present in the network and by using different mechanisms provided by the respective technologies.