Understanding TCP fairness over wireless LAN

Saar Pilosof*, Ramachandran Ramjee, Danny Raz, Yuval Shavitt, Prasun Sinha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


As local area wireless networks based on the IEEE 802.11 standard see increasing public deployment, it is important to ensure that access to the network by different users remains fair. While fairness issues in 802.11 networks have been studied before, this paper is the first to focus on TCP fairness in 802.11 networks in the presence of both mobile senders and receivers. In this paper, we evaluate extensively through analysis, simulation, and experimentation the interaction between the 802.11 MAC protocol and TCP. We identify four different regions of TCP unfairness that depend on the buffer availability at the base station, with some regions exhibiting significant unfairness of over 10 in terms of throughput ratio between upstream and downstream TCP flows. We also propose a simple solution that can be implemented at the base station above the MAC layer that ensures that different TCP flows share the 802.11 bandwidth equitably irrespective of the buffer availability at the base station.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-872
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
StatePublished - 2003
Event22nd Annual Joint Conference on the IEEE Computer and Communications Societies - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 30 Mar 20033 Apr 2003


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