Unified model for performance analysis of IEEE 802.11 ad hoc networks in unsaturated conditions

Changchun Xu, Jingdong Gao, Yanyi Xu, Jianhua He

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    IEEE 802.11 standard has achieved huge success in the past decade and is still under development to provide higher physical data rate and better quality of service (QoS). An important problem for the development and optimization of IEEE 802.11 networks is the modeling of the MAC layer channel access protocol. Although there are already many theoretic analysis for the 802.11 MAC protocol in the literature, most of the models focus on the saturated traffic and assume infinite buffer at the MAC layer. In this paper we develop a unified analytical model for IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol in ad hoc networks. The impacts of channel access parameters, traffic rate and buffer size at the MAC layer are modeled with the assistance of a generalized Markov chain and an M/G/1/K queue model. The performance of throughput, packet delivery delay and dropping probability can be achieved. Extensive simulations show the analytical model is highly accurate. From the analytical model it is shown that for practical buffer configuration (e.g. buffer size larger than one), we can maximize the total throughput and reduce the packet blocking probability (due to limited buffer size) and the average queuing delay to zero by effectively controlling the offered load. The average MAC layer service delay as well as its standard deviation, is also much lower than that in saturated conditions and has an upper bound. It is also observed that the optimal load is very close to the maximum achievable throughput regardless of the number of stations or buffer size. Moreover, the model is scalable for performance analysis of 802.11e in unsaturated conditions and 802.11 ad hoc networks with heterogenous traffic flows.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)683-701
    Number of pages19
    JournalTransactions on Internet and Information Systems
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Open access


    • IEEE 802.11
    • M/G/1/K model
    • Markov chain
    • performance analysis
    • ad hoc networks


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