Date of Award

12-2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Noneaker, Daniel L

Abstract

Medium-access control (MAC) and multiple-hop routing protocols are presented that exploit the presence of directional antennas at nodes in a wireless ad hoc network. The protocols are designed for heterogeneous networks in which an arbitrary subset use directional antennas. It is shown that the new protocols improvement the network`s performance substantially in a wide range of scenarios.
A new MAC protocol is presented that employs the RTS/CTS mechanism. It accounts for the constraints imposed by a directional antenna system, and it is designed to exploit the capabilities of a directional antenna. It is shown that the receiver blocking problem is especially detrimental to the performance if the network includes nodes with directional antennas, and a simple solution is presented. A further improvement to the MAC protocol is presented which results in more efficient spatial reuse of traffic channels in the heterogeneous network. The protocol includes a mechanism by which a negotiating node pair dynamically determines if a traffic channel that is in use in the local area can be used concurrently to support additional traffic. It is shown that the new protocol yields significantly better performance than two existing approaches to the reuse of traffic channels. It is also shown that the improvements are achieved over a wide range of network conditions, including different network densities and different spread-spectrum processing gains.
A new distributed routing protocol is also presented for use in heterogeneous wireless ad hoc networks. Two components of the routing protocol are jointly designed: a congestion-based link metric that identifies multiple routes with low levels of congestion, and a forwarding protocol that dynamically splits traffic among the multiple routes based on the relative capabilities of the routes. It is shown that the new routing protocol is able to exploit the decoupling of paths in the network resulting from the presence of nodes with directional antennas. Furthermore, it is shown that the protocol adapts effectively to the presence of advantaged nodes in the network. This approach to joint routing and forwarding is shown to result in a much better and more robust network performance than minimum-hop routing.

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