Short-term non-uniform access in IEEE 802.11-compliant WLANs: A study on its impact on the saturation performance

Chunyu Hu, Hwangnam Kim, Jennifer C. Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Along with the success of IEEE 802.11-compliant WLANs, the distributed coordinated function (DCF) specified as the contention-based medium access mechanism in IEEE 802.11 has been widely used to support applications in new regimes. A thorough understanding of the characteristics of IEEE 802.11 DCF is therefore a research focus. DCF assumes the binary exponential backoff algorithm (BEBA) [D. Bertsekas, R. Gallager, Data Networks, Prentice Hall, 1992]. Several existing models that characterize BEBA as a p-persistent scheme have ignored several subtle protocol details. This has practically constrained the models from being applied in a broader range of configurations, e.g., small contention window, and from being further extended, e.g., 802.11e EDCA. In this paper, we develop an analytical model that captures the subtlety, and faithfully describes the channel activities as governed by DCF. Based on the devised model, we perform a rigorous analysis on the saturation throughput performance in a single-hop WLAN. We show that the stochastic property of the backoff time, r, may substantially impact the system performance. For example, setting the range of r to [1, CW] instead of [0, CW - 1], can degrade the system throughput considerably. We also identify, by clearly defining and thus being able to differentiate the two terms, attempt probability and transmission probability, an erroneous extension made to Bianchi's model [G. Bianchi, Performance analysis of the IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function, IEEE JSAC, 18(3) (2000) 535-547]. All the findings are corroborated by ns-2 simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 18


  • Backoff algorithm
  • IEEE 802.11 MAC
  • Model
  • p-Persistent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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