A Simulator for analyzing the throughput of IEEE 802.11b Wireless LAN Systems

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Virginia Tech


Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) have proliferated in the last 5 years. The IEEE 802.11b products have become commonplace both in the residential and business places for untethered Internet access. However the end user experience has often been less satisfactory than what the technology can offer. The degradation in the performance of the system is mainly attributed to the poor network design. The current network design is primarily RF centric. There are two factors that need to be in the incorporated in the design. Firstly a clear understanding of the traffic sources in the network such as the peak load of the system is necessary. Secondly the design should account for the limitations of the indoor propagation such as interference and multipath.

The goal of this thesis is to develop a simulator which will predict the performance (throughput) of an end user. The throughput is predicted for a given topology and traffic source. The simulator is built on object oriented design. To validate the simulator a measurement campaign was conducted. The campaign was conducted in two different channel conditions, office space and open hall. The channel measurements were also performed at these locations to understand the multipath.

Comparative studies indicate that the choice of the rate adaptation algorithm hugely influences the predicted throughput. The simulator results match very well with the measurement results for the open space scenario. For the office space scenario the simulator varied by roughly 20% from the measurement results. This was due to existence of multipath leading to Inter Symbol Interference.



channel characteristics, IEEE 802.11b, throughput measurement, Wireless LAN