Leader-Contention-Based User Matching for 802.11 Multiuser MIMO Networks

Tung-Wei Kuo, Kuang-Che Lee, Kate Ching-Ju Lin, Ming-Jer Tsai

In multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO) LANs, the achievable throughput of a client depends on who are transmitting concurrently with it. Existing MU-MIMO MAC protocols however enable clients to use the traditional 802.11 contention to contend for concurrent transmission opportunities on the uplink. Such a contention-based protocol not only wastes lots of channel time on multiple rounds of contention, but also fails to maximally deliver the gain of MU-MIMO because users randomly join concurrent transmissions without considering their channel characteristics. To address such inefficiency, this paper introduces MIMOMate, a leader-contention-based MU-MIMO MAC protocol that matches clients as concurrent transmitters according to their channel characteristics to maximally deliver the MU-MIMO gain, while ensuring all users to fairly share concurrent transmission opportunities. Furthermore, MIMOMate elects the leader of the matched users to contend for transmission opportunities using traditional 802.11 CSMA/CA. It hence requires only a single contention overhead for concurrent streams, and can be compatible with legacy 802.11 devices. A prototype implementation in USRP-N200 shows that MIMOMate achieves an average throughput gain of 1.42x and 1.52x over the traditional contention-based protocol for 2-antenna and 3-antenna AP scenarios, respectively, and also provides fairness for clients.

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