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Improved multi-point communication for data and voice over IEEE 802.11b



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There is a growing demand for faster, improved data and voice services in rural areas without modern telecom infrastructure. A wireless network is often the only feasible solution for providing network access in this environment, due to the sparse populations and difficult natural conditions. A system solution that incorporates the Multipoint Communication System (MCS) algorithm created by TRLabs into the available IEEE 802.11b Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) devices was proposed and studied in this thesis. It combines the advantages of both systems, that is, the MCS’ capability of integrating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and data services and the IEEE 802.11b standard, currently the most widely used in WLAN products. A system test bed was set up inside Network Simulator-2 (NS-2). The data and VoIP performance was tested. Modifications to the original MCS algorithm to improve system performance were made throughout this thesis. In a constant rate radio channel, data performance (throughput and transmission efficiency) was measured using the original MCS algorithm, which was comparable to the standard Distribution Coordination Function (DCF) operation of IEEE 802.11b when both were simulated at similar conditions. On an 802.11b platform, the Automatic Rate Fallback (ARF) feature was incorporated into the original MCS algorithm. However, when clients with different data rates were present in the same channel, all the clients involved received unacceptably low and equal data throughput, dragged down by the low rate clients. A modified MCS data polling algorithm was proposed with the capability of repeated polling, which eliminated the negative effect of low rate clients in a multi-rate channel. In addition, the original MCS algorithm was modified to be more efficient in the voice polling process. The voice performance and data throughput were tested at various conditions. However, the one-by-one polling still resulted in very low voice transmission efficiency. The time wasted became more severe with increasing relay distance and channel rate (only 8.5% in an 11 Mbps channel at 30 km). A new voice handling process similar to Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) mode was implemented and simulated. Its voice efficiency can be kept at 25% at any setting of relay distance and channel rate. Data transmission in the same channel can also benefit from using the new voice scheme. The normalized saturation throughput could be improved by 13.5% if there were 40 voice clients involved in an 11 Mbps channel at the relay distance of 15 km, compared to the original MCS algorithm. More improvement in voice efficiency, voice capacity, and data throughput can be achieved at longer relay distance, or with more voice calls set up.



802.11b, Multi-point, Data, Voice



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


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