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Handling asymmetry in power heterogeneous ad hoc networks

  • Author(s): Shah, Vasudev;
  • Gelal, Ece;
  • Krishnamurthy, Srikanth V.
  • et al.

Traditional MAC and routing protocols, which are primarily designed for homogeneous networks wherein all nodes transmit with the same power, suffer performance degradations when employed in power heterogeneous networks. The observed degradations are due to link asymmetry, which arises as high power nodes that do not sense the transmissions of low power nodes can potentially initiate transmissions that interfere with the low power communications. Link layer asymmetry in power heterogeneous networks not only disrupts the functioning of the routing protocol in use, but also results in unfairness in medium access. In this paper, we develop a cross-layer framework to effectively address the link asymmetry problem at both the MAC and the routing layers. At the MAC layer, the framework intelligently propagates low power control messages to the higher power nodes, so as to preclude them from initiating transmissions while there are low power communications in progress within their sensing range. At the routing layer, the framework facilitates the efficient use of unidirectional links. We perform extensive simulations to study the performance of our proposed framework in various settings, and show that the overall throughput in power heterogeneous networks is enhanced by as much as 25% over traditional layered approaches. In addition, we show that our schemes are also beneficial in power homogeneous settings, as they reduce the extent of false link failures that arise when the IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol is used. In summary, our framework offers a simple yet effective and viable approach for medium access control and for supporting routing in power heterogeneous ad hoc networks.

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