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Measuring the reliability of 802.11 WiFi networks

Murray, D., Koziniec, T., Dixon, M. and Lee, K. (2015) Measuring the reliability of 802.11 WiFi networks. In: Internet Technologies and Applications (ITA), 2015, 8-11 Sept. 2015, Wrexham, Wales

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Over half of the transmission time in WiFi networks is dedicated to ensuring that errors are corrected or detected. Despite these mechanisms, many studies have concluded that frame error rates vary. An increased understanding of why frames are lost is a pragmatic approach to improving real world 802.11 throughput. The potential beneficiaries of this research, include rate control algorithms, Modulation and Coding Schemes, simulation models, frame size selection and 802.11 configuration guidelines. This paper presents a measurement study of the factors which correlate with packet loss in 802.11 WiFi. Both passive and active approaches were used to investigate how the frame size, modulation and coding scheme and airtime effect the loss rate. Overall, packet errors were high, but the size of frames were not a major determinant of the loss rate. The loss rate decreased with the airtime but at substantially lower rates than those suggested in simple packet error models. Future work will further try to isolate and investigate specific errors, such as head on collisions in the preamble.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
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