Making 802.11 DCF Near-Optimal: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

Jinsung Lee, Hojin Lee, Yung Yi, Song Chong, Edward W. Knightly, Mung Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a new protocol called Optimal DCF (O-DCF). O-DCF modifies the rule of adapting CSMA parameters, such as backoff time and transmission length, based on a function of the demand-supply differential of link capacity captured by the local queue length. O-DCF is fully compatible with 802.11 hardware, so that it can be easily implemented only with a simple device driver update. O-DCF is inspired by the recent analytical studies proven to be optimal under assumptions, which often generates a big gap between theory and practice. O-DCF effectively bridges such a gap, which is implemented in off-the-shelf 802.11 chipset. Through extensive simulations and real experiments with a 16-node wireless network testbed, we evaluate the performance of O-DCF and show that it achieves near-optimality in terms of throughput and fairness and outperforms other competitive ones, such as 802.11 DCF, optimal CSMA, and DiffQ for various scenarios. Also, we consider the coexistence of O-DCF and 802.11 DCF and show that O-DCF fairly shares the medium with 802.11 via its parameter control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7114340
Pages (from-to)1745-1758
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • 802.11 DCF
  • experiment
  • optimal CSMA
  • testbed implementation


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