Utility-optimal random-access control

Jang Won Lee, Mung Chiang, A. Robert Calderbank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


This paper designs medium access control (MAC) protocols for wireless networks through the network utility maximization (NUM) framework. A network-wide utility maximization problem is formulated, using a collision/persistenceprobabilistic model and aligning selfish utility with total social welfare. By adjusting the parameters in the utility objective functions of the NUM problem, we can also control the tradeoff between efficiency and fairness of radio resource allocation. We develop two distributed algorithms to solve the utility-optimal random-access control problem, which lead to random access protocols that have slightly more message passing overhead than the current exponential-backoff protocols, but significant potential for efficiency and fairness improvement. We provide readily-verifiable sufficient conditions under which convergence of the proposed algorithms to a global optimality of network utility can be guaranteed, and numerical experiments that illustrate the value of the NUM approach to the complexity-performance tradeoff in MAC design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2741-2750
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Mathematical programming/optimization
  • Medium access control (MAC)
  • Network control by pricing
  • Network utility maximization
  • Wireless network


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