Efficient Cooperative Scheduling in 802.11 Wireless Networks

Ishwar Ranani, Ramana Rao Kompella, Sriam Ramabhadran and Alex Snoren
July 7, 2005

The proliferation of 802.11a/b/g based wireless devices has fueled their adoption in many domains---some of which were unforeseen. Yet, these devices lack native support for many advanced features (such as service differentiation, etc.) required in specific application domains. A subset of these features relies on cooperative scheduling whereby nodes communicate among themselves to effectively manage resources such as power, throughput and interference in wireless networks. The trajectory of evolution in these devices has been primarily through new extension standards (e.g., 802.11e/s, etc.) that offer support for these features. Plagued with long design cycles and significant cost overheads, this upgrade process creates an uphill battle for users who want to use their wireless devices for new applications that require inter-node coordination. In this paper, we argue that cooperative scheduling extensions can be supported using a new layer on top of the existing MAC layer. We propose a \twoandhalf pipeline architecture as a generic mechanism to create domain-specific extensions. Using a prototype we built over an open-source 802.11 wireless device driver, we evaluate the architecture in a case study.

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