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Wireless Communication and Networks

Applications of Wireless Communication

Wireless Communication Technologies

Wireless Networking and Mobile IP

Wireless Local Area Networks Student Presentations and Research Papers

Wireless Medium Access


Medium Access Control


Random Contention Access

802.11 Multiple Access schemes

PCF DCF HCF BA and WMM Virtual Carrier Sense Physical Carrier Sense

Multiple Access Problems

Multi-transmitter Interference Problem

Similar to multi-path or noise

Two transmitting stations will constructively/destructively interfere with each other at the receiver Receiver will hear the sum of the two signals (which usually means garbage)

Medium Access Control

Protocol required to coordinate access


transmitters must take turns

Similar to talking in a crowded room Also similar to hub based Ethernet

Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA)


Listen to medium and wait until it is free (no one else is talking) Wait a random back off time then start talking Fairly simple to implement Functional scheme that works Can not recover from a collision (inefficient waste of medium time)



Medium Access Control

Media Access Control (MAC) describes how the media (wired or wireless) is used

Polling, token passing, contention based

CSMA/CD is for ethernet wired networks

CSMA/CA for wireless 802.11 Stations using either access method must first listen to see whether any other device is transmitting. If another device is transmitting, the station must wait until the medium is available.

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection

CSMA-CD Procedure

Listen to medium and wait until it is free Then start talking, but listen to see if someone else starts talking too If a collision occurs, stop and then start talking after a random back off time

This scheme is used for hub based Ethernet Advantages

More efficient than basic CSMA

Requires ability to detect collisions


Collision Detection Problem

Transmit signal is MUCH stronger than received signal Due to high path loss in the wireless environment (up to 100dB) Impossible to listen while transmitting because you will drown out anything you hear Also transmitter may not even have much of a signal to detect due to geometry

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance

CSMA-CA Procedure

Similar to CSMA but instead of sending packets control frames are exchanged RTS = request to send CTS = clear to send DATA = actual packet ACK = acknowledgement

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance


Small control frames lessen the cost of collisions (when data is large) RTS + CTS provide virtual carrier sense which protects against hidden terminal collisions (where A cant hear B)

Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance

Not as efficient as CSMA-CD Doesnt solve all the problems

wireless networks

of MAC in


The difference is when the coast is clear CSMA/CD node can immediately begin transmitting.

If a collision occurs while a CSMA/CD node is transmitting, the collision will be detected and the node will temporarily stop transmitting.

802.11 wireless stations are not capable of transmitting and receiving at the same time, so they are not capable of detecting a collision during their transmission.

802.11 wireless networking uses CSMA/CA instead of CSMA/CD to try to avoid collisions.


IF CSMA/CA station sees no transmissions it will wait a random interval

Keep watching the medium If still clear after interval, transmit If not, start over

Because only 1 station can use the frequency at a time




Standard Distributed Coordination Function (DCF) is defined to allow access of multiple stations
Checks and balances to keep the Minimize chances of collision

line clear


Since 802.11 stations cannot detect collisions, how do they know when they happen? Every unicast frame requires an acknowledgement
Broadcast and ACK Frame

multicast dont

When ACK Frame is received, original station knows the frame is received

Collision Detection

Receiving device will also check the CRC

If frame is corrupt, no ACK frame IF no ACK frame, sender assumes



Random Contention Access

Slotted contention period


by all carrier sense variants Provides random access to the channel


node selects a random back off number Waits that number of slots monitoring the channel If channel stays idle and reaches zero then transmit If channel becomes active wait until transmission is over then start counting again

Distributed Coordination Function (DCF)

Fundamental method of 802.11 communication

Mandatory access method
Point Coordination Functions (PCF) is optional 802.11 also has Hybrid Coordination Function (HCF)

Four Main parts

Interframe Space Virtual Carrier Sense Physical Carrier Sense Random back-off timer

Pg 254

Interframe Space (IFS)

The amount of time between transmissions

Actual length of time depends on network speed

Short interframe space (SIFS), highest priority

PCF interframe space (PIFS), middle priority

DCF interframe space (DIFS), lowest priority Arbitration interframe space (AIFS), used by QoS stations Extended interframe space (EIFS), used with Pg 254 retransmissions

Interframe Space (IFS)

Only certain types of frames are sent after certain interframe spaces

ACK and CTS after SIFS

Pg 254

802.11 DCF Example

B1 = 25 wait data B1 = 5 data wait

B2 = 20

B2 = 15

B2 = 10

cw = 31 cw = 31

B1 and B2 are backoff intervals B1 and B2 are backoff intervals at nodes 1 and 2 at nodes 1 and 2

802.11 Contention Window

Random number selected from [0,cw]

Small value for cw

Less wasted idle slots time Large number of collisions with multiple senders (two or more stations reach zero at once)

Optimal cw for known number of contenders & know packet size

Computed by minimizing expected time wastage (by both collisions and empty slots) Tricky to implement because number of contenders is difficult to estimate and can be VERY dynamic

802.11 Adaptive Contention Window

802.11 adaptively sets cw

Starts with cw = 31 If no CTS or ACK then increase to 2*cw+1 (63, 127, 255) Reset to 31 on successful transmission Under contention, unlucky nodes will use larger cw than lucky nodes (due to straight reset after a success) Lucky nodes may be able to transmit several packets while unlucky nodes are counting down for access

802.11 adaptive scheme is unfair

Fair schemes should use same cw for all contending nodes (better for high congestion too)

802.11 PCF (CSMA-CA)

Optional access control method


AP is point coordinator
Only work in a BSS Not in ad-hoc/IBSS

Both AP and client station must support PCF AP will switch between DCF and PCF

PCF time is contention free period (CFP) DCF is contention period (CP)

802.11 DCF (CSMA-CA)

Full exchange with virtual carrier sense (called the Network Allocation Vector)
A Sender Sender Receiver A B B RTS CTS NAV (RTS) NAV (CTS) Receiver DATA ACK B

Hybrid Coordination Function (HCF)

Added in 802.11e

Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA) HCF Controlled Channel Access (HCCA)

DCF and PCF require contention for each frame

HCF defines ability to send multiple frames
Transmit Opportunity (TXOP) During TXOP period, client station can send a frame burst

Uses Short Interframe Space (SIFS)

Pg 259

Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA)

Provides differentiated access using eight user priority levels

Extension of DCF QoS standard at MAC (layer 2) level Define priority values Data waiting in higher priority queues transmits before lower priority queues Pg 259

Uses frame tags similar to 802.1D standard

With priority queuing

Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA)

Pg 259

Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA)

Defines four access categories base on User Priority level From lowest to highest priority access category:

AC_BK (Background) AC_BE (Best Effort) AC_VI (Video) AC_VO (Voice

For each category, Enhanced Distributed Cannel Access Function (EDCAF) is used

Frames with higher category have lower back off values and are more likely to get a TXOP Pg 259

Block Acknowledgement (BA)

Part of 802.11e
Allows for a single acknowledgement for multiple frames


Two Types

For low latency traffic


For latency tolerant traffic

Pg 261

Block Acknowledgement (BA)-Immediate

Originator sends a block of QoS data frames to station Originator requests acknowledgement of all outstanding QoS data

AckReq frame

Recipient can send a single ack frame for all received frames


request a single frame from block be retransmitter

Pg 261

Block Acknowledgement (BA)-Immediate

Pg 261

W i-Fi Multimedia (WMM)

For latency sensitive data

Real time voice and video

Voice, video, audio, have less tolerance of latency (cumulative delay) 802.11e had layer 2 MAC methods to meet QoS requirements

WiFi Alliance created WMM

Because WMM is based on EDCA mechanisms, 802.1D priority tags from the Ethernet side are used to direct traffic to four access-category priority queues. The WMM certification provides for traffic prioritization via four access categories Pg 262

W i-Fi Multimedia (WMM)

Pg 262

Virtual Carrier Sense

Provided by RTS & CTS

Designed to protect against hidden terminal collisions (when C cant receive from A and might start transmitting)

However this is unnecessary most of the time due to physical carrier sense

Physical Carrier Sense Mechanisms

Energy detection threshold

Monitors channel during idle times between packets to measure the noise floor Energy levels above the noise floor by a threshold trigger carrier sense Monitors the channel for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) coded signal Triggers carrier sense if the correlation peak is above a threshold More sensitive than energy detection (but only works for 802.11 transmissions)

DSSS correlation threshold

High BER disrupts transmission but not detection

Physical Carrier Sense Range

Carrier can be sensed at lower levels than packets can be received

Results in larger carrier sense range than transmission range More than double the range in NS2 802.11 simulations

Receive Range Carrier Sense Range

Long carrier sense range helps protect from interference

Hidden Terminal Revisited

Virtual carrier sense no longer needed in this situation


RTS CTS Still Useful Sometimes

Obstructed hidden terminal situation

Fast collision resolution for long data packets

Exposed Terminal Problem

Hidden terminal is not the only challenge for a distributed wireless MAC protocol
A blocks B, and C doesnt know what is happening (B is exposed)

Double Exposure Problem

If A and C are out of phase, there is NO time D can transmit without causing a collision