Performance evaluation of heterogeneous wireless local area network systems Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9880vt484

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  • The market for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years and this trend is expected to continue in the future. This growth is due to the fact that wireless LANs provide several benefits including mobility, efficiency, and accuracy. In addition, the cost of installation for wireless LANs is several orders of magnitude lower than with traditional wired LANs due to reduced cabling costs. The two major components of a WLAN are Access Points (APs) and Radio Cards (RCs). Efforts have been made in the past to assess the performance of different APs and RCs from different vendors. However, these evaluations have been restricted to tests of interoperability and roaming. Tests to assess performance with respect to range, throughput, and power consumption are less common. Moreover, these tests are usually performed using homogeneous test beds (i.e., hardware components belong to the same vendor). The objective of this research was to assess how commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) WLAN systems perform with respect to interoperability, roaming ability, power consumption, throughput, and range. In order to accomplish this, a test procedure composed of five experiments was developed. The evaluation was performed not only on homogeneous systems but also on systems constructed with hardware components from different vendors (i.e., heterogeneous). The results of the performance tests indicated that the different AP, RC, and their combinations, significantly affect the performance of the WLAN systems with respect to range, throughput, and power consumption. No significant differences were observed in the WLAN systems with respect to interoperability or roaming. The results of this research will help decision makers in understanding the key parameters that have to be considered when selecting WLAN equipment. In practice, however, it would be difficult for decision makers to determine which vendor of WLAN equipment has the best solution without actual testing.
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