Jon Gretarsson, Feng Li, Mingzhe Li, Ashish Samant, Huahui Wu, Mark Claypool and Robert Kinicki
While the canonical behavior of today's home Internet users involves several residents concurrently executing diverse Internet applications, the most common home configuration is a single external connection into a wireless access point (AP) that promises to provide concurrent high-bandwidth Internet access for multiple hosts through a wireless local area network (WLAN). Recent research has attempted to assess the performance impact of hosts with weak wireless connectivity upon the other WLAN hosts by employing measurement studies or analytic models that focus primarily on wireless channel characteristics. This paper examines the intertwined effects on performance of the user applications, the network protocol and the wireless channel characteristics via carefully designed experiments that leverage previously developed network measurement tools. The study provides empirical evidence that suggests the overall performance of a WLAN is not only determined by the individual wireless channel qualities associated with each host, but also by the interaction of the various network layers with respect to transmission contention, queuing at the access point, transport protocol, and behavior of the specific applications. These results imply that effective WLAN performance modeling needs to include details on multiple network layers.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number CNS-0423362. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).