Departmental Papers (ESE)


802.11 wireless mesh networks are ubiquitous, but suffer from severe performance degradations due to poor synergy between the 802.11 CSMA MAC protocol and higher layers. Several solutions have been proposed that either involve significant modifications to the 802.11 MAC or legacy higher layer protocols, or rely on 802.11 MAC models seeded with off-line measurements performed during network downtime.

We introduce a technique for online optimization of 802.11 wireless mesh networks using rate control at the network layer. The technique is based on a lightweight model that characterizes the feasible rates region of an operational 802.11 wireless mesh network. Unlike existing 802.11 modeling approaches, the parameters of this model can be estimated online, incur minimal overhead and can be realized using standard probing mechanisms at the network layer. Using analysis and extensive measurements over a wireless mesh network testbed, we validate the assumptions on which the model is built, and explain the principles behind the choice and estimation of its parameters. The benefits of the model and its solution in terms of fairness, throughput and stability are demonstrated operationally for a range of multi-hop topologies and configurations.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version



© ACM, 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version is forthcoming and will appear in:

Online Optimization of 802.11 Mesh Networks. T. Salonidis, G. Sotiropoulos, R. Guerin, R. Govindan. ACM CoNEXT 2009 Conference, Rome, Italy, December 1-4, 2009



802.11, CSMA, Modeling, Optimization, Wireless Mesh Networks


Date Posted: 28 October 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.