Mingzhe Li, Mark Claypool, and Robert Kinicki,
Bandwidth estimation techniques seek to provide an accurate estimation of available bandwidth such that network applications can adjust their behavior accordingly. However, most current techniques were designed for wired networks and produce relatively inaccurate results and long convergence times on wireless networks where capacity can vary dramatically. This paper presents a new Wireless Bandwidth estimation tool, WBest, designed for fast, non-intrusive, accurate estimation of available bandwidth in IEEE 802.11 networks. WBest is a two-stage algorithm: 1) a packet pair technique estimates the effective capacity over a flow path where the last hop is a wireless LAN (WLAN); and 2) a packet train technique estimates achievable throughput to infer the available bandwidth. WBest parameters are optimized given the tradeoffs of accuracy, intrusiveness and convergence time. The advantage of WBest stems from avoiding a search algorithm to detect the available bandwidth by statistically detecting the available fraction of the effective capacity to mitigate estimation delay and the impact of random wireless channel errors. WBest is implemented and evaluated on an 802.11 wireless testbed. Comparisons with other available bandwidth estimation tools shows WBest to have higher accuracy, lower intrusiveness and faster convergence times. Thus, WBest demonstrates the potential for improving the performance of applications that need bandwidth estimation, such as multimedia streaming, on wireless networks.