Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Adaptive load balancing metric for WLANs

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  • As the number of mobile devices accessing large-scale WLANs such as campus and metropolitan area networks increases, the need for load balancing among the cells becomes crucial. In addition, the network must also support some minimum handoff tolerance defined by an application. A number of load balancing techniques have been proposed in the literature that focuses on formulating new load metrics rather than using Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) as the association metric. These schemes consider a variety of factors such as number of STAs, enhanced RSSI, channel utilization, queue length, bandwidth, and throughput to achieve balanced load. However, some of these techniques require protocol modifications to both APs and STAs or need special agents such as admission control server, extra software, and switches. Others do not consider Quality of Service (QoS) requirements of applications, which vary from one application to another, and thus do not satisfy users requiring minimized handoff latency and real-time services. Moreover, most techniques ignored the hidden node problem, which causes packet collisions and thus the presence of such nodes can severely affect the performance of WLANs. This dissertation proposes a new metric that provides load balance as well as timely handoffs for WLANs by taking into account both direct and hidden node collisions as well as the types of traffics in order to support QoS. Another novel feature of the proposed method is the use of probe requests during the discovery phase to monitor the states of the channels to determine the best Access Point (AP) for association. Our simulation results show that the proposed method is significantly better than relying only on signal strength in term of utilization, end-to-end delay, collision rate, and packet loss.
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