Opportunistic use of client repeaters to improve performance of wlans
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Opportunistic Use of Client Repeaters to Improve Performance of WLANs. Victor Bahl 1 , Ranveer Chandra 1 , Patrick P. C. Lee 2 , Vishal Misra 2 , Jitendra Padhye 1 , Dan Rubenstein 2 , Yan Yu 3 1 Microsoft Research 2 Dept of Computer Science, Columbia University 3 Google Inc. Dec 12, 2008.

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Opportunistic Use of Client Repeaters to Improve Performance of WLANs

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Opportunistic use of client repeaters to improve performance of wlans

Opportunistic Use of Client Repeaters to Improve Performance of WLANs

Victor Bahl1, Ranveer Chandra1, Patrick P. C. Lee2, Vishal Misra2,Jitendra Padhye1, Dan Rubenstein2, Yan Yu31Microsoft Research2Dept of Computer Science, Columbia University3Google Inc.Dec 12, 2008


Outline

Outline

  • Rate anomaly problem

  • SoftRepeater design

  • Fairness requirements

  • Experimental results

  • Conclusions


Rate anomaly of 802 11

A

AP

B

30

A

20

Throughput (Mbps)

B

10

A

B

0

Rate Anomaly of 802.11

54Mbps

18Mbps

  • Rate anomaly is well-known in WiFi 802.11 networks

    • Low-rate stations degrade throughput of high-rate stations

  • Why does rate anomaly exist?

    • Stations reduce data rates when signal strength is poor (auto-rate)

    • Low-rate stations’ packets consume more airtime

    • 802.11 arbitrates transmissions on per-packet basis

    • High-rate stations receive limited airtime  throughput degrades

54Mbps

A far from AP

A, B near AP


Limitations of prior solutions

Limitations of Prior Solutions

  • What’s new? Rate anomaly is well-known, with many solutions proposed.

  • Assumptions of prior solutions:

    • Require dedicated hardware (e.g., Cisco Aironet 1200 series APs)

    • Change MAC layer (e.g., Lee et al., Infocom ’04; Liu et al., JSAC ’05)

    • Construct ad-hoc mesh networks (e.g., Draves et al., Mobicom ’04)

  • Drawbacks of prior solutions:

    • More cost for hardware change

    • Not compatible with widely deployed infrastructure networks

    • Inflexible – solutions cannot be activated on demand


Our solution softrepeater

A

AP

B

traffic for A and B

traffic for A

client

repeater

Our Solution: SoftRepeater

  • SoftRepeater: A practical, deployable system that addresses rate anomaly

  • Main idea:

    • High-rate station (repeater) relays traffic for low-rate station (client)

  • Key features:

    • Repeater is opportunistic -activated only when both repeater and client receive “beneficial” throughput

    • No changes to 802.11 MAC and AP

    • Deployable in infrastructure and adhoc networks


Design issues

A

AP

B

traffic for A and B

traffic for A

client

repeater

Design Issues

  • How can we detect existence of rate anomaly occurring?

  • How do we formally define “beneficial” throughput?

  • How do we support multiple interfaces on a wireless card?

    • We need managed mode for communication between AP and repeater

    • We need adhoc mode for communication between repeater and client

  • What fractions of time should we give to managed/adhoc modes to ensure “beneficial throughput”?


Our contribution

Our Contribution

  • Propose a handshaking protocol for detecting rate anomaly and reaching consensus on using SoftRepeater

  • Formalize a set of utility maximization problems for different fairness requirements

  • Implement SoftRepeater on Windows XP; conduct extensive testbed experiments and QualNet simulations


Softrepeater architecture

SoftRepeater Architecture

  • Built on VirtualWifi – allowing two virtual interfaces for a wireless card:

    • Primary Virtual Interface – communication between AP and repeater in managed mode

    • Repeater Virtual Interface – communication between repeater and client in adhoc mode

  • Repeater Virtual Interface activated only when beneficial to both repeater and client

  • Alternate between primary and repeater interfaces with switching overhead < 40ms

  • Optional Network Coding Engine that further boosts throughput, with slight modifications to AP

  • Multiple radios can be supported (not in our current experiments)


Detecting rate anomaly

Detecting Rate Anomaly

  • Goal: Determine When SoftRepeater is beneficial

  • Key steps:

    • Collect information from nearby stations in promiscuous mode:

      • Number of packets transmitted

      • Average size of packets

      • RSSI

      • Data transmission rate

      • BSSID

    • Check utilization of medium. If neighbors send about the same number of packets, but at a low rate, rate anomaly may exist.


Repeater utility function

A

AP

B

Repeater Utility Function

  • Goal: capture throughput gain of both repeater and client

  • Define α: fraction of time spent in managed mode

  • Assumptions:

    • Stations always have backlogged data to send (i.e., saturated case)

      • Implying equal channel access

      • Good approximation for file-transfer applications

    • Zero switching overhead

      • 1 - α = fraction of time spent in adhoc mode

      • Can easily account for non-zero switching overhead

  • Intuition: if utility improved for both repeater and client, activate SoftRepeater

client

repeater


Repeater utility function1

A

AP

Repeater Utility Function

TA

  • Without SoftRepeater:

    • B’s throughput: TB

    • A’s throughput: TA

  • With SoftRepeater:

    • B’s Throughput: αTB/ 2

    • A’s throughput: min(αTB/ 2 , (1- α)TA,B)

      • TA,B = inferred throughput between A and B from RSSI measurement

  • If max-min fairness is used, repeater utility function becomes

    T* = maxα min{αTB/ 2, min(αTB/ 2 , (1- α)TA,B)}

  • If T* > TA and T* > TB (better for both) activate SoftRepeater

client

TA,B

TB

B

repeater


Generalizing repeater utility function

Generalizing Repeater Utility Function

  • For different objectives:

    • Maximizing total throughput: starve client (bad)

    • Max-min fairness

    • Proportional fairness

  • For different settings:

    • In presence of interfering nodes

    • In presence of multiple clients

    • Multiple radios

    • Multiple wireless cards

  • Details in paper and tech report


Repeater initiation protocol

A

AP

Repeater Initiation Protocol

  • Goal: confirm and reach consensus on activating SoftRepeater

  • For now: simple 4-way handshake:

    • B broadcasts SoftRepeater offer

    • A infers data rate from A to B (from RSSI) and unicasts response

    • B picks clients to serve (if utility improved) and broadcasts final “Take it or leave it” offer

    • A unicasts accept/reject

2. unicast response

4. unicast accept/reject

client

1. broadcast offer

B

3. broadcast new offer

repeater


Testbed experiments

Testbed Experiments

  • SoftRepeater is implemented on Windows XP

  • Testbed experiments in office building

  • AP located at X

  • Repeater (node R) fixed at Y

  • Client (node C) moved between Y, T, Z

  • Use 802.11a, with auto-rate feature enabled

  • Focus on Max-Min fairness


Experiment 1 downlink udp

Experiment 1: Downlink UDP

  • UDP throughput improved by 200% with SoftRepeater when rate anomaly exists

rate anomaly scenario:

AP

C

R


Experiment 2 downlink tcp

Experiment 2: Downlink TCP

  • TCP throughput improved by 50% with SoftRepeater when rate anomaly exists, even communication alternates between managed and adhoc modes

rate anomaly scenario:

AP

C

R


Experiment 3 udp with 2 clients

Experiment 3: UDP with 2 clients

  • UDP throughput improved with SoftRepeater when two clients served

rate anomaly scenario:

AP

R

C1 C2


Qualnet simulation effectiveness of repeater initiation protocol

Qualnet Simulation: Effectiveness of Repeater Initiation Protocol

  • SoftRepeater activated only when there is throughput gain

  • AP in office 0

  • Client in office 9

  • Downlink UDP for both repeater and client

Repeater


Qualnet simulation multiple clients

Qualnet Simulation: Multiple Clients

  • SoftRepeater improves the baseline throughput by more than 65%.

  • AP in office 0

  • Repeater in office 3

  • N clients in office 9

  • Downlink UDP

Repeater


Summary of experimental results

Summary of Experimental Results

  • Main observation: throughput significantly improved for UDP/TCP flows when rate anomaly exists

  • More experiments in paper/tech. report

    • Correctness of repeater initiation protocol

    • Extension with network coding

    • Various traffic scenarios

    • Qualnet simulation for more “complicated” scenarios (e.g., interfering nodes, multiple repeaters/clients)


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Propose SoftRepeater, a practical, deployable system that addresses rate anomaly problem

  • Formulate different utility maximization problems for SoftRepeater

  • Implement a prototype that demonstrates the improvement of SoftRepeater


Questions pclee@cs columbia edu

Questions: [email protected]


Security issues

Security Issues

  • Security concerns:

    • Privacy

      • End-to-end encryption (e.g., IPsec) can be used

    • Greedy/malicious repeaters

      • Client monitors channel; quits if performance becomes worse after SoftRepeater is used

  • Conclusion: Security is no worse than SoftRepeater-free networks


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