TCP over wireless multi-hop protocols: Simulation and experiments


In this study we investigate the interaction between TCP and MAC layer in a wireless multi-hop network. This type of network has traditionally found applications in the military (automated battlefield), law enforcement (search and rescue) and disaster recovery (flood, earthquake), where there is no fixed wired infrastructure. Wireless «ad-hoc» multi-hop networks have previously been proposed for nomadic computing applications. Key requirements in all the above applications are reliable data transfer and congestion control, features that are generally supported by TCP. Unfortunately, TCP performs on wireless in a much less predictable way than on wired protocols. Using simulation, we provide new insight into two critical problems of TCP over wireless multi-hop. The first is the conflict between data packets and ACKs, which causes TCP performance to degrade for window sizes greater than 1 packet. The second is the interaction between MAC and TCP layer backoff timers which causes severe unfairness and capture conditions. In the paper, we identify these problems in several representative simulation runs on various topologies and traffic patterns and indicate possible remedies to improve TCP efficiency over a wireless multi-hop network.

Publication Title

IEEE International Conference on Communications