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4th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation

Pp. 87100 of the Proceedings

WiLDNet: Design and Implementation of High Performance WiFi Based Long Distance Networks

Rabin Patra and Sergiu Nedevschi, University of California, Berkeley, and Intel Research, Berkeley; Sonesh Surana, University of California, Berkeley; Anmol Sheth, University of Colorado, Boulder; Lakshminarayanan Subramanian, New York University; Eric Brewer, University of California, Berkeley, and Intel Research, Berkeley


WiFi-based Long Distance (WiLD) networks with links as long as 50100 km have the potential to provide connectivity at substantially lower costs than traditional approaches. However, real-world deployments of such networks yield very poor end-to-end performance. First, the current 802.11 MAC protocol has fundamental shortcomings when used over long distances. Second, WiLD networks can exhibit high and variable loss characteristics, thereby severely limiting end-to-end throughput. This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation of WiLDNet, a system that overcomes these two problems and provides enhanced end-to-end performance inWiLD networks. To address the protocol shortcomings, WiLDNet makes several essential changes to the 802.11 MAC protocol, but continues to exploit standard (low-cost) WiFi network cards. To better handle losses and improve link utilization, WiLDNet uses an adaptive loss-recovery mechanism using FEC and bulk acknowledgments. Based on a real-world deployment, WiLDNet provides a 25 fold improvement in TCP/UDP throughput (along with significantly reduced loss rates) in comparison to the best throughput achievable by conventional 802.11. WiLDNet can also be configured to adapt to a range of end-to-end performance requirements (bandwidth, delay, loss).

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Last changed: 29 May 2007 ac