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Achieving Maximum Throughput in Random


Access Protocols with Multi-packet Reception
Yun Han Bae, Bong Dae Choi, Member, IEEE and Attahiru S. Alfa, Member, IEEE

Abstract

This paper considers random access protocols with multi-packet reception (MPR), which include
both slotted-Aloha and slotted -persistent CSMA protocols. For both protocols, each node makes
a transmission attempt in a slot with a given probability. The goals of this paper are to derive the
optimal transmission probability maximizing a system throughput for both protocols and to develop a
simple random access protocol with MPR which achieves a system throughput close to the maximum
value. To this end, we rst obtain the optimal transmission probability of a node in the slotted-Aloha
protocol. The result provides a useful guideline to help us develop a simple distributed algorithm
for estimating the number of active nodes. We then obtain the optimal transmission probability in
the -persistent CSMA protocol. An in-depth study on the relation between the optimal transmission
probabilities in both protocols shows that under certain conditions the optimal transmission probability
in the slotted-Aloha protocol is a good approximation for the -persistent CSMA protocol. Based on
this result, we propose a simple -persistent CSMA protocol with MPR which dynamically adjusts the
transmission probability depending on the estimated number of active nodes and thus can achieve
a system throughput close to the maximum value.

Index Terms

Multi-packet reception, slotted-Aloha, CSMA, optimal transmission probability, WLAN, 802.11


DCF.

Y.H.Bae is with the Department of Mathematics Education, Sangmyung University, 7, Hongji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul,
110-743, Republic of Korea (e-mail: yhbae@smu.ac.kr).
B.D.Choi is with Department of Mathematics, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Republic of Korea (e-mail:
queue@korea.ac.kr)
A.S.Alfa is with Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.(e-
mail:alfa@ee.umanitoba.ca)

Digital Object Indentifier 10.1109/TMC.2012.254 1536-1233/12/$31.00 2012 IEEE


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I. I NTRODUCTION

A. Motivation

Random access protocols based on carrier sensing or non-carrier sensing have been used for
coordinating the channel access of users in various wireless networks. One of the representative non-
carrier sensing protocols is the slotted-Aloha. Various forms of slotted-Aloha protocols are widely used
in most of the current digital cellular networks, such as the Global System for Mobile communications
(GSM)1 , and in RFID systems as one of the popular anti-collision algorithms. CSMA-based algorithms
constitute a heart of contemporary wireless media access control technology. In the last decades,
various enhancements have been introduced to basic CSMA schemes, rst of all, in order to support
collision avoidance. One of the widely used CSMA algorithms is the -persistent CSMA protocol.
The performance analysis of the -persistent CSMA has gained a renewed interest recently since the
behavior of many CSMA protocols such as IEEE 802.11 DCF [2] and IEEE 802.15.4 [3] might be
studied by a corresponding -persistent CSMA protocol.
With advanced PHY-layer multi-packet reception techniques, it is possible for a receiver to receive
multiple packets transmitted concurrently. This new concept, referred to as multi-packet reception
(MPR), opens up new possibilities for enhancing the capacity of wireless networks. Some recent
efforts for standardization [1] and system design [5] to implement MPR have convinced researchers
that it will not take much time to deploy MPR-based wireless networks in the near future. When the
MPR-capability is employed in the physical layer, it is expected that MAC layer behaves differently
from what is commonly believed in the MAC protocols with conventional single-packet reception.
Therefore, in order to fully exploit the MPR-capability, it is important to nd the optimal transmission
probability of a node to maximize the system throughput in random access protocols with MPR. In
addition, it is strongly required to develop a random access protocol with MPR which achieves a
throughput close to the maximum value.

B. Related Work and Contribution of This Paper

The performance of random access protocols such as the slotted-ALOHA and the -persistent
CSMA is characterized by the transmission probability of a node. System throughput depends on the
transmission probability of a node. We can expect that there might exist a transmission probability
(called optimal transmission probability) which maximizes the system throughput. Under the assump-
tion of single-packet reception capability, much effort has been devoted to guring out the optimal
1
In the GSM network, the control channels of the TDM channels use slotted-Aloha.
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transmission probability of a node. The performance of random access protocols with single-packet
reception has been extensively investigated and well understood during the last decade. In particular,
since the seminal work of Bianchi [9], there have been extensive efforts to characterize the performance
of 802.11-based WLANs under saturation and non-saturation conditions, respectively, for example see
[11], [10], [12], [13].
In the contexts of study on random access protocols with MPR, Ghez et al. [15], [16] made the rst
attempt to model a general MPR channel in random access based wireless networks, in which stability
properties of conventional slotted-Aloha with MPR were studied under an innite-node assumption.
Their study was extended to CSMA protocols by Chan et al. in [17] and to Aloha systems with MPR
under a nite-node assumption by Naware et al. [18]. The authors [17] focused on the value of the
maximum stable throughput and extended the framework in [15], [16] to grasp the effects of CSMA
with MPR and then found that carrier sensing facilitates an improvement in capacity. Recently, [19]
investigated a system throughput in contention-based MAC protocols with MPR. Chan et al. [14]
investigated the impact of MPR on CSMA protocol and proposed a performance-improving cross-
layer designed CSMA protocol for wireless networks with MPR. Zhang et al. [19] showed that when
the channel has an M -MPR capability, which means that the AP can decode successfully up to M
simultaneous packet transmissions, the throughput scales linearly with M in the slotted-Aloha protocol
with an innite population and a nite population. Specically, their result implies that the achievable
throughput per unit cost (MPR-capability) increases with the MPR capability of the channel. Their
result provides a strong incentive to deploy MPR in the next generation wireless networks. Zhang et
al. extended their investigation in [19] to the non-saturation case [20] and showed that super-linear
scaling also holds for safe-bounded-mean-delay and safe-bounded-delay-jitter throughput which are
dened as the maximum throughput that can be safely sustained with nite mean delay and delay
jitter, respectively.
Among all the works on MPR mentioned above, some ([14], [19], [20], [24]) focused on the
theoretical analysis of the achievable maximum throughput. The others ([15], [17], [18]) dealt with
the stability properties of MAC protocols with MPR. Little attention has been devoted to the study
of the property of the optimal transmission probability which maximizes system throughput. Besides,
the relationship between the optimal transmission probabilities for both the slotted-Aloha and the
-persistent CSMA protocols with MPR has not been addressed so far. To the best of our knowledge,
this paper is the rst attempt to deal with the optimal transmission probability to maximize the system
throughput in random access protocols, including both the slotted-Aloha and the -persistent CSMA
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protocols with MPR.


The optimal transmission probability clearly depends on the number of active nodes which compete
with each other for the channel access. Apart from the historical works presented above, some
researchers have focused on designing dynamic random access protocols which dynamically adjust
the transmission probability of node ( e.g., via tuning the backoff window size) depending on the
estimated number of active nodes in the network. To perform such a tuning optimally in a way that
the MAC protocol capacity is close to its theoretical bound, it is essential to design an algorithm which
is able to estimate the number of active nodes at runtime. To realize such algorithms under single
packet reception assumption, the main idea adopted in the literature [6], [7], [8] is to use a feedback
from the channel status to tune the transmission probability. The algorithm proposed in [8] computes
an estimate of the collision cost and of the number of active nodes, which are obtained by observing
the three events that may occur on the channel: idle slots, collisions, and successful transmissions. It
seems that the extension of the algorithm to the MPR case is not straightforward. Different from the
algorithm in [8], we introduce a new metric, which turns out to be a quantity related to the length bias
concept, to develop an algorithm for estimating the number of active nodes at runtime. Our proposed
algorithm simply requires each node to obtain the information on the number of nodes involved in
each successful transmission slot. Moreover, under certain conditions the proposed algorithm works
well in both the slotted-Aloha and the -persistent CSMA protocols with MPR.
In this paper, we consider random access protocols with MPR where there are an access point (AP)
and multiple nodes in a wireless network. The AP has an M MPR-capability. The study includes
both the slotted-Aloha and the -persistent CSMA protocols. For both protocols, each node makes a
transmission attempt with a given probability in a generic slot. The goals of this paper are to gure
out the relation between the optimal transmission probabilities for both protocols and, based on the
result, to develop a random access protocol which achieves a throughput close to the maximum value
in the MPR scenario. The main contributions of this work are summarized as follows:

First, we derive the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha with MPR. The result
reveals that the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol with MPR is directly
related to a discrete version of the length biasing concept.
Second, based on the derived optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol with
MPR, we provide a simple distributed algorithm for estimating the number of active nodes (i.e.,
nodes that have packets ready for transmission) at runtime. By observing the number of successful
transmissions in a slot, each node can get an estimate of the number of active nodes and use this
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estimate to tune its transmission probability. The results show that the proposed algorithm can
estimate the real value that we want to nd.
Third, we obtain the optimal transmission probability in the -persistent CSMA protocol with
MPR under the general settings Ti < Ts and Ti < Tc where Ti , Ts and Tc is the length of an idle
slot, a successful transmission slot and a collision slot, respectively. We show that under certain
conditions the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol with MPR is a good
approximation of the one in -persistent CSMA protocol with MPR. This nding is very useful
because it allows us to directly apply the proposed algorithm for estimating the number of active
nodes in the slotted-Aloha protocol to the case of the -persistent CSMA protocol with MPR.
Finally, to improve the system throughput in the MPR case, we propose a simple -persistent
CSMA protocol with MPR, where the transmission probability of a node is dynamically and
optimally tuned based on the estimated number of active nodes in the network. The proposed
protocol can achieve a system throughput close to the theoretical maximum value.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. The system model is presented in Section II. In
section III, we derive the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha and then propose a
new algorithm for estimating the number of active nodes at runtime. Section IV provides the optimal
transmission probability in the -persistent CSMA protocol. In addition, we show that the optimal
transmission probability in the -persistent CSMA protocol is well approximated by the one in the
slotted-Aloha protocol. In Section V, we investigate the performance of IEEE 802.11-based WLAN
with MPR and then show that IEEE 802.11 DCF with MPR gives a poor throughput. In Section VI,
we propose a simple -persistent CSMA protocol which achieves a throughput close to the maximum
value in WLANs with MPR. Some discussion is given in Section VII and nally Section VIII concludes
this paper.

II. S YSTEM M ODEL

We consider a fully connected one-hop wireless network consisting of N active nodes (nodes that
always have packets ready for transmission) and an AP. For the time being, for both the slotted-Aloha
and the -persistent CSMA protocols we begin with the assumption that the number N of active nodes
is known to all the nodes and then this assumption will be relaxed. The time is divided into slots and
packet transmissions start only at the beginning of a slot. After each transmission, we assume that
the transmitting nodes know the result of the transmission whether it is successful or not. In addition,
all the nodes in the network get the information on how many nodes are involved in each successful
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transmission by employing an appropriate feedback mechanism. The AP has the capability to decode
up to M simultaneous transmissions. The MPR model used in this paper is described by

X = Y 1{Y M } . (1)

where M is the MPR capability of the AP, Y is the number of nodes which make a transmission
attempt in a time slot, X is the number of packets successfully received by the AP in a time slot
and 1{} is the indicator function. The above model means that the AP can receive up to M packets
simultaneously, and concurrent transmissions more than M packets result in collisions and so all
the packets are lost. Note that the conventional single-packet reception model is the special case of
M = 1. When N M , it is obvious that the optimal transmission probability which enables the
maximal throughput to be achieved is equal to one. In order to obtain non-trivial result, we assume
N > M.

III. S LOTTED -A LOHA P ROTOCOL WITH MPR

In this section, we rst investigate the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol
with MPR given that the number of active nodes is known to all the nodes. Based on the result, we
next present an algorithm for estimating the number of active nodes at runtime in a distributed manner.
Combining the algorithm with the result of the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha
leads to an optimal slotted-Aloha protocol which dynamically and optimally tunes the transmission
probability of node depending on the estimated number of active nodes.

A. Optimal Transmission Probability in Slotted-Aloha Protocol with MPR

We assume that the number N of active nodes is known a priori. In the slotted-Aloha protocol,
the channel time is divided into time slots of an equal length. We assume that the length of a packet
is constant. A time slot is long enough to accommodate a packet transmission and the corresponding
acknowledgement packet.
Each node attempts to transmit a packet with a probability at the beginning of a time slot,
0 < < 1. Since each node makes a transmission attempt with probability in a time slot, Y follows
a binomial distribution with parameters N and . Thus, its distribution is given by P(Y = k) =

N Ck
k (1 )N k . Let X denote the number of packets received successfully in a time slot. Then,
the probability mass function of X is given by

N
P(X = 0) = P(Y = 0 or Y > M ) = (1 ) + N
N Ck
k
(1 )N k
k=M +1
N k
P(X = k) = P(Y = k) = N Ck (1 ) k
, for 1 k M. (2)
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Then, for a given , the system throughput Saloha ( ), which is measured in the number of successful
transmissions in a slot, is obtained as

M 
M
Saloha ( ) = k P(X = k) = k N Ck k (1 )N k . (3)
k=1 k=1

We want to nd the optimal transmission probability aloha which maximizes a system throughput
Saloha ( ). Differentiating Saloha ( ) with respect to , we have
dSaloha ( ) 
M
= k N Ck k1 (1 )N k1 (k N ). (4)
d
k=1
dSaloha ( ) dSaloha ( ) dSaloha ( )
It is easy to see d > 0 for 1/N and d < 0 for M/N . Since d

is continuous in the interval 0 1, by the Intermediate Value Theorem there exists a


dSaloha ( )
[1/N, M/N ] such that d = 0. The following result provides the properties of solution of
dSaloha ( )
d = 0.
dSaloha ( )
Theorem 1: 1) A solution of equation d = 0 satises the following equation:
E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ]
= , (5)
N
M M
where E[X; ] = k=1 k N Ck k (1 )N k and E[X 2 ; ] = 2
k=1 k N Ck (1
k )N k .
E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ] 1
2) Let h( ) = N . Then, lim 0+ h( ) = N, lim 1 h( ) = M
N and h( ) is a monotone
increasing function of .

d h( ) < 1, then Eq.(5) has the unique solution, denoted by aloha , and so Saloha ( ) has the
d
3) If

maximum value at = aloha .
dSaloha ( )
Proof: We prove the rst statement. d = 0 yields

M 
M
2 N k1
k N Ck
k1
(1 ) =N k N Ck k (1 )N k1
k=1 k=1

1 
M
N 
M
k 2 N Ck k (1 )N k = k N Ck k (1 )N k
(1 ) 1
k=1 k=1
1 N
E[X 2 ; ] = E[X; ].
(1 ) 1
We next prove the second statement. Letting ak = N Ck , we have
M 2 N k
k=1 k ak (1 )
k
h( ) = 
N M k=1 kak (1 )
k N k
 M 2  k
k=1 k ak 1
= M  k . (6)
N k=1 kak 1
1
It is easy to see that lim 0+ h( ) = N and lim 1 h( ) = M
N.

Consider h( ) in the interval (0, 1). Letting x =


1 in Eq.(6), we note that as increases from 0
M 2 k
k=1 k ak x
to 1, x also increases from 0 to . Let q(x) = 
N M ka x k . Thus, it is sufcient to show that q(x) is
k=1 k
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monotone. We claim that q(x) is strictly increasing, namely, q(u + v) > q(u) for any u + v, v (0, 1),
and u > 0 and v > 0. Letting bk = kak , then we have
M M M M
k=1 bk u k=1 kbk (u + v) k=1 kbk u k=1 bk (u + v)
k k k k
q(u + v) q(u) =  M . (7)
N M k=1 b k (u + v) k
k=1 b k u k

Since the denominator of (7) is always positive, we only have to show the numerator of (7) is positive.
Denoting the numerator of (7) by c(u, v), simple algebra then yields
 M   M  M   M  M  
M 
c(u, v) = bi u
i
bj (u + v)
j
bj u
j
bi (u + v) i

i=1 k=1 j=k k=1 j=k i=1


M 
 
M 
M 
M 
M
       
= bi u
i
bj (u + v) j
bj u
j
bi (u + v) i

k=1 i=1 j=k j=k i=1


M  

 M  
M
 
M
 
M

= bi u
i
bj (u + v)j bj u j bi (u + v)i
k=2 i=1 j=k j=k i=1
M  
 
 k1 M
 
M
 
M
 
k1 
M

= bi u +
i
bi u i
bj (u + v)j bj u j bi (u + v)i + bi (u + v)i
k=2 i=1 i=k j=k j=k i=1 i=k
M  
 k1 
M 
M 
k1
       
= bi u i bj (u + v)j bj u j bi (u + v)i
k=2 i=1 j=k j=k i=1
M 
 k1  
M 
M 
= b i ui bj (u + v)j bi (u + v)i bj u j . (8)
k=2 i=1 j=k j=k


()

Finally, we only have to prove that () of (8) is positive. Rearranging the terms of (), we have

M
 
() = bi ui bj (u + v)j bi (u + v)i bj uj
j=k

M
 
= bi bj ui (u + v)i (u + v)ji uji . (9)
j=k

Since j > i, (u + v)ji > uji . Thus, we have () > 0.


The proof of the third statement can be done trivially from the second result.

d h( ) < 1 holds, which is assumed in theorem 1-(3). We can prove that


d
Remark 1: It seems that

d h( ) < 1 for M = 1, 2, 3, but we cannot prove it for an arbitrary M because it involves extremely
d

d h( ) < 1 holds, a numerical example


d
complex algebraic manipulations. To show the plausibility that
is presented in Fig.1, which plots h( ) for the varying and M when the number N of contending
nodes is 10. To emphasize that h( ) is a function of and M for a given N , let h(, M ) = h( ).

d h( ) < 1 holds in the numerical example:


d
We see from the following facts that

First, we note that for a xed , h(, M ) increases with M . This is because E[Z] increases with
M as explained in remark 3.
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N 1 1
Second, when M = 10, i.e., N = M , then h(, 10) = N + N. This is due to the following
reasoning: when M = N , Y and X are identically distributed where Y has binomial distribution
with parameters N and ; therefore, E[X; ] = N , Var[X; ] = N (1 ), and so E[X 2 ; ] =
E[X 2 ; ] N 1 1 N 1
N (1 ) + N 2 2 ; hence, h(, 10) = N E[X ] = N + N. Thus, d h(, 10)
d
N < 1 for
any M .
N 1
d h(, M ) d h(, 10) <1
d d
Third, for any M , N

d h( ) < 1.
d
Hereafter, we assume that

Remark 2: (Fixed-point iteration) Let aloha be the unique solution satisfying Eq.(5). The solution

aloha can be found by the following xed-point iteration method. Dene n = h(n1 ) n = 1, 2,
and 0 (0, 1). Then, with the result d h( )
d
< 1, the well-known Fixed-Point Theorem ensures that

n converges to the solution aloha . For a wide range of 0 (0, 1), we identify that the xed-point
iteration always converges to the unique solution.
Remark 3: (Interpretation of the quantity h( ) as the length bias concept) Note that the quantity
E[X 2 ; ]
E[X; ]
given by Eq.(5) is related to a discrete version of the length biasing concept which is explained
in the following. Let X  be the number of nodes involved in a successful transmission slot. Then,
P(X=k)
P(X  = k) = P(1XM )
for 1 k M . Choose a packet randomly among the total packets
which have been successfully transmitted. Let Z be the number of nodes involved in a successful
transmission slot in which the tagged packet has been transmitted successfully. Then, the distribution
of Z is given by
k P(X  = k) k P(X = k)
P(Z = k) = 
= , 1 k M, (10)
E[X ] E[X]
E[X]
where the second equality follows from E[X  ] = P(1XM )
and we here denote E[X  ; ] and E[X; ]
E[X 2 ]
by E[X  ] and E[X], respectively. Thus, we have E[Z] = E[X]
, which explains the fact that the
successful transmission slot including the tagged packet involves more packet transmissions than an
ordinary successful transmission slot.

B. An Algorithm for Estimating the number of Active Nodes

In the previous section, we have derived the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha
with MPR, given that the number of active nodes is known a priori. This assumption is restrictive in
the distributed wireless networks. In this section, we present an algorithm for estimating the number
of active nodes. Note that if each node can estimate the number of active nodes, we can obtain the
optimal transmission probability by the xed point iteration as shown in remark 2.
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1
M=10
0.9
M=9
0.8
y=((N1)+1)/N

0.7

0.6

y=h()
0.5

0.4

0.3
M=3
0.2
M=2

0.1 M=1
y=
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ]
Fig. 1. y = h( ) = N
for the varying M and when the number of nodes is 10.

Lets focus on the quantity E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ]. Note that h(, N ) E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ] is a function
of and N and, for a xed N , h(, N ) is an increasing function of . In addition, h(, N ) is also
an increasing function of N for xed and M values. The formal proof for that is not presented
here because it involves tedious algebraic manipulations. The reasoning for the result is intuitively
explained as follows: as explained in remark 3 h(, N ) = E[X 2 ; ]/E[X; ] is equal to E[Z] where
Z is the number of nodes involved in a successful transmission slot in which the tagged packet has
been successfully transmitted; note that for xed and M , a larger N implies that more nodes are
likely to attempt to transmit; thus, each successful transmission is likely to involve more nodes and
so it is expected that E[Z] increases with N .
The proposed algorithm regularly updates the necessary estimates of the network status at the end
of every update interval2 with a length of L time slots. The update intervals of all the nodes are
synchronized with each other. During every update interval, each node can obtain the estimates 1
and 2 of E[X] and E[X 2 ], respectively, by overhearing acknowledgment packets broadcasted by the
AP, which contains the information on the number of successful transmissions in every time slot. Let
J be the number of successful transmission slots during the update interval. Then,
J J 2
j=1 xj j=1 (xj )
1 = , 2 = , (11)
J J
where xj is the number of nodes involved in the j -th successful transmission slot during the update
interval.
2
The update interval can be set as the interval between two consecutive beacons, which is usually used in wireless network
for the purpose of time synchronization.
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Suppose that there are N active nodes which we want to estimate. Let Nn be an estimate of N at the

end of the n 1-th update interval (or at the beginning of the n-th update interval). Let aloha (Nn ) be
the optimal transmission probability which satises Eq.(5) for a given Nn , which can be obtained by

a xed point iteration. All the nodes try to transmit packets with probability aloha (Nn ) at every time
slot during the n-th update interval. The proposed algorithm tries to estimate the number of active
nodes while estimating the quantities 1 and 2 in every update interval. The proposed algorithm
simply operates as follows:

(1) Calculation of 1 and 2 : At the end of the n-th update interval (or at the beginning of the
2
(n + 1)-th update interval), calculate 1 and 2 according to Eq.(11), and then obtain 1 .

(2) Updating the estimated number Nn+1 of active node: Let N be the solution which satises
h( (Nn ), ) = 2
1 for given (Nn ) and 2
1 , i.e., N = h1 ( 2 , (Nn )) 3 . Update Nn+1 as
1

follows:
Nn+1 :=
Nn + (1 )N , (12)

where is a smoothing factor such that 0 1 and


x is the least integer not less than x.

(3) Calculation of aloha (Nn+1 ): Based on the estimate Nn+1 , calculate the optimal transmission

probability aloha (Nn+1 ) by applying the xed-point iteration presented in remark 2. During the

(n + 1)-th update interval, all the nodes use aloha (Nn+1 ) as their transmission probability.

Note that in order to obtain reliable estimates by avoiding harmful uctuations, the proposed algorithm
uses a smoothing factor , which is widespread in the network protocols.
Remark 4: The proposed algorithm seems to work well under the following assumption: the number
of active nodes infrequently varies over update intervals and the communication time of an active node
is relatively long, i.e., the time required for an active node to complete the transmission of its whole
packets is not less than an update interval. This assumption is usually satised in the scenario of le
upload of nodes. In such a case, the completion time usually amounts to several seconds to dozens
of seconds.
Now, we present some simulation examples that show the performance of the proposed algorithm.
Specically, we investigate how fast the proposed algorithm nds out the actual number of active nodes
and as well how the estimated value is close to the real value. Results presented in Fig.2 and Fig.3
are obtained under the following assumptions: M = 5; there are 10 active nodes which we want to
estimate, i.e., N = 10; all the nodes initially (at the rst update interval) guess that there are 50 active
3
Note that since h(, N ) is an increasing function of N , the solution N is unique
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1
nodes in the network4 , i.e., N0 = 50; all the nodes uses 0 = N0 as an initial transmission probability
during the rst update interval. Each sample path in the gure is a result of real estimation procedure
of the number of active nodes during the designated time period. We run 30 independent simulations
and so the lines in each gure display 30 real trajectories. We rst discuss the performance of the
proposed algorithm with a sufciently long update interval. To see the performance of the algorithm
for this ideal case, the length L of an update interval is set as L = 1000 slots and = 0. Note that
= 0 means that the proposed algorithm uses only the latest information for the estimation of the
number of active nodes. As shown in Fig.2, starting from an initial value 50, as the estimation process
goes on, the estimate for N sharply decreases to around 10 within a few update intervals (we call
this period transient period). After the transient period, the estimate keeps being almost same as the
actual number of active nodes (we call this period quasi-stationary period). It is worth noting that the
error between the estimate and actual value is at most one. The reasoning for this result is as follows:
in the case of sufciently long update interval, the law of large number ensures that the estimates 1
and 2 given by Eq.(11) is close to E[X] and E[X 2 ], respectively, and thus are sufcient statistics
to represent E[X] and E[X 2 ]. It is worth noting that in all simulations the transient period of the
proposed algorithm is less than 3 update intervals and thus the convergence speed of the estimation
process is so fast.
We next investigate the performance of the proposed algorithm with L = 200 for the varying .
Fig.3 shows the estimation process of the number of active nodes according to the increase of update
intervals for = 0.3 and = 0.7. In both cases, we see that after a transient period the proposed
algorithm is in quasi-stationary period as similar to Fig.2. Fig.3 indicates that a small leads to a
short transient period and vice versa. The reasoning for that is as follows: if is small, the algorithm
regards the latest information as more important and thus promptly reacts to the latest information. On
the other hand, since with a large the algorithm slowly reacts to the latest information, the estimation
curve smoothly decreases and thus the transient period become long. However, it is worth noting that
when the algorithm is in quasi-stationary period, the error between the estimate and the actual value
is at most less than 2 in all simulations for both cases. Moreover, despite wrongly assuming a highly
congested network initially (N0 =50), the proposed algorithm quickly converges to quasi-stationary
state.
To see how long the transient period is, assume that the length of a time slot is 1 ms, i.e., Ti =
4
Even if an initial guess N0 for the actual value N is different for each node, after an update interval all the nodes have
the same estimate N1 . Moreover, with N0 < N the proposed algorithm still works well.
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Ts = Tc = 1 ms. For each case, the maximum length of transient period, denoted by Ttrans , is as
follows: with L = 200 in Fig.3, Ttrans = 1000 ms ( = 0.3) and Ttrans = 2000 ms ( = 0.7).
Therefore, in both cases the transient period is not larger than 2 seconds. In summary, using large L
and values leads to reliable estimates in quasi-stationary period by avoid harmful uctuations at the
expense of long transient period. Thus, it is desirable to use a long update interval with a small or
a short update interval with a large .

50

45
The estimated number of active nodes

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5
0 5 10 15 20
The index of update interval

Fig. 2. The estimated number of active nodes versus update interval when the length of an update interval is 1000 slots
and = 0

50 50

45 45
The estimated number of active nodes

The estimated number of active nodes

40 40

35 35

30 30

25 25

20 20

15 15

10 10

5 5
0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20
Update interval Update interval

(a) = 0.3 (b) = 0.7

Fig. 3. The estimated number of active nodes versus update interval (The length of an update interval = 200 slots)

IV. - PERSISTENT CSMA P ROTOCOL WITH MPR

-persistent CSMA protocol is an important model in the class of CSMA protocols. It is well-known
that the -persistent CSMA protocol is a good candidate to approximate the performance of IEEE
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802.11 DCF in both single-packet reception model [9] and as well MPR model [19], [21]. In this
section, we rst obtain the optimal transmission probability in the -persistent CSMA protocol with
MPR with the assumption that the number N of active nodes is known a priori. This assumption will be
relaxed in section VI. We next investigate the relation between the optimal transmission probabilities
for both the slotted-Aloha and the -persistent CSMA protocols with MPR. Based on that, we identify
that under certain conditions the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol is a
good approximation of the one in the -persistent CSMA protocol.

A. Optimal Transmission Probability in -persistent CSMA Protocol with MPR

We assume that the number N of active nodes is known a priori. The time is divided into unit slots
with a length . The length of a data packet is assumed to be constant. In the -persistent CSMA
protocol, each node attempts to transmit a packet with a probability at the beginning of a generic
slot where in CSMA protocols the length of a generic slot is not necessarily xed and may vary
under different contexts as follows: an idle slot with length Ti , a collision slot with length Tc and a
successful slot with length Ts . Thus, according to the employed carrier sensing technique, Ti , Ts and
Tc can be different. For example, in IEEE 802.11 DCF basic access mechanism,

Ti =

Ts = H + Pdata /R + SIF S + + ACK + DIF S +

Tc = H + Pdata /R + EIF S + , (13)

where is the time for a node to detect the packet transmission from any other node and is typically
much smaller than Ts and Tc ; H is the transmission time of both PHY and MAC headers; Pdata is
the data amount of a packet; ACK is the transmission time of an ACK packet; is the propagation
delay; and SIF S and DIF S are the interframe space durations; R is the data transmission rate of
a node; EIF S is the extended interframe space time, which includes the transmission time of ACK
frame, SIFS and DIFS.
Let Pi be the probability that a given slot is idle. Since if no node attempts to transmit in a slot, then
the slot is idle, Pi P(Y = 0) = (1 )N where Y is the number of nodes that make a transmission
attempt in a generic slot. Let Ps be the probability that a given slot is a successful transmission slot.
Since with M -MPR capability the AP can successfully decode up to M simultaneous transmissions,
 N k where X is the number of packets successfully
we have Ps P(X > 0) = M k=1 N Ck (1 )
k

received by AP in a generic time slot. Let Pc be the probability that a given slot is a collision slot.
 N k and clearly P + P + P = 1.
Then, Pc P(Y > M ) = N k=M +1 N Ck (1 )
k
i s c
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Dene system throughput S( ) as the average amount of bits transmitted successfully per second.
Then, S( ) can be obtained as the ratio between the average payload bits transmitted per generic slot
to the average length of a generic slot as follows:

Pdata M k=1 k P(X = k)
S( ) =
Pi Ti + Ps Ts + Pc Tc
 N k
Pdata M k=1 k N Ck (1 )
k
=  M  N
. (14)
Ti (1 )N + Ts k=1 N Ck k (1 )N k + Tc k=M +1 N Ck k (1 )N k
We want to nd the optimal transmission probability which maximizes the system throughput
S( ) by solving d S( )
d
= 0. The following result gives a functional equation for such .

d S( ) = 0 satises the following equation:


d
Theorem 2: A solution of
 (E[X; ])2 
E[X 2 ; ] g( ) (Ts Tc ) E[X 2 ; ]
= N, (15)
E[X; ] Tc
where g( ) = Pi Ti + Ps Ts + Pc Tc .
 N k and g( )
Proof: For notational convenience, let ak =N Ck , f ( ) M k=1 kak (1 )
k

 N k + T
N N k . Noting that dS( ) = 0
Ti (1 )N + Ts M k=1 ak (1 )
k
c k=M +1 ak (1 )
k
d
df dg
d g( ) f ( ) d = 0, simple algebraic manipulations yield
df dg
gf =0
d d

M 
M 
2 N k1 N k
g( ) k ak k1
(1 ) +N kak (1 )
k
Ti (1 )N 1
k=1 k=1
M 
N 
N k1 N k1
+Ts ak (1 )
k
+ Tc ak (1 )
k

k=1 k=M +1

M 
M  
M
N k1 N k
= N g( ) kak (1 )
k
+ kak (1 )
k
Ts kak k1 (1 )N k1
k=1 k=1 k=1

N 
+Tc kak k1 (1 )N k1
k=M +1
  N
E[X 2 ; ] N E[X; ] N E[X; ]
g( ) + g( ) = g( ) + E[X; ] Tc kak k1 (1 )N k1
(1 ) 1 1
k=1
M 
+(Ts Tc ) kak k1 (1 )N k1 . (16)
k=1

Keeping in mind that E[Y ] = N , Eq.(16) can be written as


df dg
gf =0
d d  
E[X 2 ; ] Tc Ts Tc
g( ) = E[X; ] E[Y ; ] + E[X; ]
(1 ) (1 ) (1 )
E[X 2 ; ]g( ) = E[X; ](Tc N + (Ts Tc )E[X; ]), (17)
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which completes the proof.


We discuss about the uniqueness of the solution of Eq.(15) to obtain the optimal transmission
probability which maximizes S( ). Note that if Ti = Tc = Ts , then the -persistent CSMA becomes
the slotted-Aloha and thus Eq.(15) reduces to Eq.(5).
We consider two cases separately; Case (1) Ti < Ts = Tc and Case (2) Ti < Tc < Ts . First, we
consider Case (1). Then, Eq.(15) reduces to
 
E[X 2 ; ] Ti
= 1 Pi (1 ) N. (18)
E[X; ] Tc
 
E[X 2 ; ]
Let k( ) = E[X; ] 1 Pi (1 Tc )
Ti
N. The following result shows the uniqueness of the solution
of Eq.(18)
Theorem 3: 1) Eq.(18) has at least one solution and k( ) is a monotone increasing function of
.
d2
2) If d 2 k( ) < 0, which implies that k( ) is concave in , then Eq.(18) has a unique solution and
so S( ) has a maximum value at such .
Proof: We prove the rst statement. We have
 
E[X 2 ; ] Ti Ti
lim 1 Pi (1 ) N = >0
0 E[X; ] Tc N Tc
 
E[X 2 ; ] Ti M
lim 1 Pi (1 ) N = < 1. (19)
1 E[X; ] Tc N
Therefore, Eq.(18) has at least one solution by Intermediate value theorem. Note that (1 Pi (1 TTci ))
E[X 2 ; ]
is a monotone increasing function of and E[X; ]
is also a monotone increasing function of .
Therefore, k( ) is a monotone increasing function of .
The proof of the second statement can be done trivially from the fact (19) together with the
assumption.
d2
Remark 5: It seems that d 2 k( ) < 0 holds, which is assumed in theorem 3. We are able to prove
d2
that d 2 k( ) < 0 holds for M = 1, 2. But, we cannot prove it for general M . To show the plausibility
of the assumption, we provide some numerical examples. In Fig.4, k( ) is plotted for the varying M
and when the number N of nodes is 10. First, we see that the solution of Eq.(18) is unique since
E[X 2 ; ]
k(0+) = Ti
N Tc . Second, we observe that for a xed k( ) increases with M . This is because E[X; ]

increases with M and Pi is constant over M . Third, note that, for a given M , k( ) looks concave in
.
d2
Hereafter, we assume that d 2 k( ) < 0.
Remark 6: (Fixed-point iteration) Let be the unique solution of Eq.(18). The solution can
be found using the following xed-point iteration method. Dene n = k(n1 ) for n = 1, 2, and
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0 ( , 1). If k( ) is concave, then this implies that k( ) < 1 for ( , 1). Thus, the xed-point
iteration theorem ensures that n converges to . We recommend to use the value 1 or a value close
to 1 as an initial value 0 .

1
M=10
0.9
M=9
0.8
M=8
0.7

0.6
y=k()

0.5
y=
0.4

0.3 M=3

0.2
M=2
0.1
M=1
0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

 
E[X 2 ; ]
Fig. 4. y = k( ) = E[X; ]
1 Pi (1 Ti
Tc
) N for the varying and M when the number of nodes is 10.

Next, we consider Case (2); Ti < Tc < Ts . By checking many numerical examples, we observe
that Eq.(15) has a unique solution when the difference Ts Tc is small.
We next obtain more useful version (20) which is equivalent to Eq.(15). Applying Chebyshevs
E[(U E[U ])2 ]
version of the second moment method, i.e., P(U = 0) E[U ]2
where U is a nonnegative random
(E[X]) 2
(E[X])2
variable, and keeping in mind that P(X > 0) = Ps , we have E[X 2 ]
Ps . Let ( ) = Ps E[X 2 ]
,
then 0  Ps where  depends on a given . Then, Eq.(15) can be rewritten as
 (E[X; ])2 
E[X 2 ; ] g( ) (Ts Tc ) E[X 2 ; ]
= N
E[X; ] Tc
 (E[X; ])2 
E[X 2 ; ] Pi Ti + Ps Ts + Pc Tc (Ts Tc ) E[X 2 ; ]
= N
E[X; ] Tc
 
E[X 2 ; ] Ti Ts Tc
= Ps + Pc + Pi +  N
E[X; ] Tc Tc
 
E[X 2 ; ]  Ti  Ts Tc
= 1 Pi 1 + N. (20)
E[X; ] Tc Tc
To emphasize that the right-hand side of Eq.(20) is a function of M and N , we let
 
E[X 2 ; ]  Ti  Ts Tc
k(M, N ) = 1 Pi 1 + N. (21)
E[X; ] Tc Tc

Using Eq.(20), in the subsequent sections we investigate approximations of the optimal transmission
probabilities for two cases; Case (1) Ti < Ts = Tc and Case (2) Ti < Tc < Ts .
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B. Approximations of Optimal Transmission Probabilities for Case (1) and Case (2)

In this section, we show that the optimal transmission probability in the -persistent CSMA protocol
with MPR is well approximated by the one in the slotted-Aloha protocol with MPR.

10 10
Approximation Approximation
9 Exact 9 Exact

N=10
8 N=10 8
Maximum system throughput

Maximum system throughput


7 7 N=30
N=30
6 6

5 5

N=50 N=50
4 4

3 3

2 2

1 1

0 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MPRcapability M MPRcapability M

(a) Ts = 500 backoff slots (b) Ts = 50 backoff slots

Fig. 5. The maximum throughput (measured in the number of packets successfully transmitted per slot) versus MPR-
capability M for different N in case of carrier sensing protocol of Case (1).

0.07
M=4
M=5
0.06 M=7

0.05
The idle probability Pi

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

0
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
The number N of nodes

 
E[X 2 ; ]
Fig. 6. The probability Pi = (1 )N at satisfying the equation k(M, N ) = E[X; ]
1 Pi (1 TTci ) N for a given
M

1) Case (1) Ti < Ts = Tc : Since Pi + Pc + Ps = 1, k(M, N ) becomes


 
E[X 2 ; ] Ti
k(M, N ) = 1 Pi (1 ) N. (22)
E[X; ] Tc
be the optimal transmission probability for Case (1) which is a solution of Eq.(22). Note
Let (1)

that aloha is the optimal transmission probability in the slotted-Aloha protocol with MPR satisfying
; ]  E[X 2 ; ] 
the equation = EE[X
2

[X; ] N . Then, since k(M, N ) E[X; ] N , it is obvious that (1) aloha .
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=
Note that if M = N , then (1)
aloha = 1. Also, note that (1) increases with M . This implies
)N decreases and is close to 0 for a large M . Thus, is close to
Pi = (1 (1) (1) aloha for a relatively

large M . On the other hand, lets consider the probability Pi for a xed M . We investigate how Pi
varies depending on the number N of nodes. Fig.6 depicts Pi versus N for given M = 4, 5, 7 where
)N . It is obvious to see that P decreases
Pi is evaluated at satisfying Eq.(22), i.e., Pi = (1 (1) i

with M for a given N . It is worth noting that Pi 0 for M 4 regardless of N . This implies that
E[X 2 ; ] . Thus, is close to
the right-hand side of Eq.(22) is well approximated by E[X; ]
near (1) (1) aloha

for M 4 regardless of N . Numerical results show below that as long as M 4 the maximum
) achieved at the optimal = is quite close to the one S(
throughput S((1) (1) aloha ) achieved at

= aloha .
Fig.5(a) and Fig.5(b) display the maximum throughput versus MPR-capability M for the various
number of active nodes in the case of Ts = 500 and Ts = 50, respectively. In gures, approximation

means the maximum throughput S( ) given by Eq.(14) achieved at the = aloha satisfying Eq.(5)
satisfying Eq.(20). As
and exact means the actual maximum value of S( ) achieved at = (1)

shown in Fig.5(a) and Fig.5(b), note that as long as M 4, aloha serves as a good approximation
for (1) .

0.07 0.14
M=4 M=4
M=5 M=5
0.06 M=7 0.12 M=7

0.05 0.1
i
The probability P

0.04 0.08
()

0.03 0.06

0.02 0.04

0.01 0.02

0 0
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
The number N of nodes The number N of nodes

N
(a) The probability Pi = (1(2) ) at = (2) satisfying (b) ( ) at = (2) satisfying the Eq.(20) for a given M
the Eq.(20) for a given M

Fig. 7. Pi and ( ) at = (2) satisfying the Eq.(20) with Ts = Tc + 1 and Tc = 30

2) Case (2) Ti < Tc < Ts : We rst note that the relation between Ts and Tc in IEEE 802.11 DCF
basic access mechanism falls on this case, where Ts , Tc and Ti are given by Eq.(13). Specically,
Ti Ts , Ti Tc , Ts Tc = , Ti /Tc 0 and (Ts Tc )/Tc =
Tc 0.
the optimal transmission probability for Case (2) which
Let us consider Eq.(20). We denote by (2)
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is a solution of Eq.(20). From Eq.(20), we have


   
E[X 2 ; ] Ti E[X 2 ; ] Ts Tc
1 Pi (1 ) N k(M, N ) 1+ N. (23)
E[X; ] Tc E[X; ] Tc
E[X 2 ; ] 
As in Case (1), we claim that the lower bound (the rst term in (23)) of k(M, N ) is close to E[X; ]
N
regardless of N as long as M 4. Fig.7(a) depicts the idle probability
in the neighborhood of (2)
satisfying Eq.(20) with T = T + 15
Pi versus N for given M = 4, 5, 7 where Pi is evaluated at (2) s c

and Tc = 30. Obviously, Pi decreases with M for a given N . From Fig.7(a), we notice that Pi 0
regardless of N as long as M 4. This implies that the lower bound of k(M, N ) in
at = (2)
; ] 
(23) is close to EE[X
2

[X; ] N in the neighborhood of (2) . Next, consider the upper bound of K(M, N )
with N for a given
in (23). Note that ( ) Ps . Fig.7(b) displays how ( ) varies at the = (2)
M . We rst notice that ( ) decreases with M for a given N . For a given M , ( ) increases with
Ts Tc
N , but it seems bounded below by a certain value less than Ps as N increases. Moreover, if Tc

is negligibly small, then  TsTT c


c
0. Thus, this implies that the upper bound of K(M, N ) in (23) is

well approximated by EE[X ; ]
2

[X; ] N in the neighborhood of = (2) . From the above two observations,
; ] 
k(M, N ) EE[X
2

[X; ] N and as a result (2) aloha regardless of N as long as M 4.

Fig.8(a) and Fig.8(b) show the maximum throughput versus (Ts Tc )/Tc for the varying N and
Tc = 50 in case of M = 5 and M = 9, respectively. In gures, approximation means the maximum

throughput S( ) given by Eq.(14) achieved at = aloha satisfying Eq.(5) and exact means the
satisfying Eq.(20). As (T T )/T increases,
actual maximum value of S( ) achieved at = (2) s c c

which means the difference Ts Tc becomes big, the discrepancy between the approximated and exact
values becomes big as expected. We can observe that as long as (Ts Tc )/Tc < 0.4, the difference is

very small and thus the optimal transmission probability aloha in the slotted-Aloha protocol can be
in the -persistent CSMA
used as a good approximation of the optimal transmission probability (2)
protocol.
With the practical settings of system parameters Ti , Ts and Tc used in IEEE 802.11 DCF basic

access mechanism, we next investigate how well the optimal transmission probability aloha satisfying
in the -persistent CSMA protocol with
Eq.(5) approximates the optimal transmission probability (2)
MPR. The system parameters are presented in Table I and are adopted from IEEE 802.11g. Fig.9
compares the maximum approximated system throughput and the exact system throughput for the
-persistent CSMA protocol with the settings of system parameters Ti , Ts and Tc given by Eq.(13)
for the varying MPR-capability M when N = 10, 40 and packet payload size Pdata =8184 bits,
5
This setting is the case of IEEE 802.11 DCF basic access mechanism.
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3.4
approximation
3.3 exact
7 N=10
3.2
maximum throughput

maximum throughput
3.1 N=10 6.5

3
6 N=20
2.9 N=20

2.8
5.5
N=50 N=50
2.7 approximation
exact
5
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
(T T )/T (T T )/T
s c c s c c

(a) M =5 (b) M =9

Fig. 8. The maximum throughput (measured in the number of packets successfully transmitted per slot) versus (Ts Tc )/Tc
for varying N when Tc = 50 backoff slots

300 180
N=10 (exact) N=10 (exact)
N=10 (approximated) 160 N=10 (approximated)
N=40 (exact) N=40 (exact)
250
N=40 (approximated) N=40 (approximated)
140
System throughput (Mbps)

System throughput (Mbps)

200 120

100
150
80

100 60

40
50
20

0 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
MPRcapability M MPRcapability M

(a) Packet payload size = 8184 bits (b) Packet payload size = 4092 bits

Fig. 9. The comparison of the approximated throughput (the value S(aloha ) achieved at = aloha satisfying Eq.(5))

and the exact maximum throughput (the throughput value S((2) ) achieved at = (2) satisfying Eq.(15)) for -persistent
CSMA protocol with the settings of system parameters given by Eq.(13) when packet payload size is set as 8184 bits and
4092 bits, respectively

4092 bits. Specically, in Fig.9,exact denotes the actual maximum throughput of S( ) given by
) achieved at = , and approximated denotes the
Eq.(14), i.e., the throughput value S((2) (2)

throughput value S(aloha
) achieved at = aloha satisfying Eq.(5). As shown in Fig.9, as long as
M 4, with the practical settings of system parameters used in IEEE 802.11g, we again see that

there is a good match between the approximated and actual values. Keeping in mind that aloha serves
as long as (T T )/T 0, the transmission probability
as a good approximation for (2) s c c aloha

satisfying Eq.(5) can be used as a good approximation for the optimal transmission probability (2)
for the -persistent CSMA protocol with system parameters such as IEEE 802.11 DCF basic access
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mechanism.
Summary: We would like to conclude this section with the brief summary of the obtained results
and the emphasis on its practical meaning.

(A) We have the result that in the MPR case, the optimal transmission probability satisfying

Eq.(15) in the -persistent CSMA protocol is very close to the one aloha satisfying Eq.(5) under
Ts Tc
the conditions; (i) Ti < Tc Ts and Tc 0 and (ii) M 4. This implies that we can use

the aloha satisfying Eq.(5) as a good approximation for the optimal transmission probability ,
instead of resorting to solving Eq.(15), which is very complex6 , to obtain in the -persistent
CSMA protocol with MPR.
(B) The above result (A) gives us an useful implication in terms of practical algorithmic aspects.
Recalling the proposed algorithm presented in section III-B, for the purpose of estimating the
number of nodes the proposed algorithm does not require a node to obtain any additional
E[X 2 ]
information, such as idle slots and collision slots, except the estimates for the quantity E[X]
. It
E[X ]2
is worth noting that E[X]
is a invariant quantity that can be obtained regardless of whether a
protocol is based on carrier sensing or not. Thus, the algorithm proposed in section III-B can
be directly applied to -persistent CSMA protocol with MPR to estimate the number of active
nodes. This issue will be discussed in section VI.

V. - PERSISTENT CSMA WITH MPR VERSUS 802.11 DCF WITH MPR

For the conventional IEEE 802.11 DCF with single-packet reception, Bianchi [9] developed an
analytical model to analyze the performance of the IEEE 802.11 DCF and thus obtained the expression
for saturation throughput. His derivation is based on modeling the stochastic behavior of a tagged
node by a bi-dimensional embedded Markov chain represented by its backoff stage s(t) and backoff
counter b(t) at time t. The key approximation made in [9] is that at each transmission attempt, each
packet collides with constant probability p regardless of the number of retransmissions suffered, where
p is referred to as conditional collision probability, meaning that this is the probability of a collision
seen by a packet being transmitted on the channel. Based on this assumption, complex CSMA/CA
protocol with BEB can be approximated as simple -persistent CSMA, where is given by [9], [10]
2(1 2p) 2
= = m1 , (24)
(1 2p)(W + 1) + pW (1 (2p) )
m
W + 1 + pW k=0 (2p)k
where W is the minimum contention window size, m is the maximum backoff stage and p =
(1 )N 1 . The steady-state behavior of IEEE 802.11 DCF with M -MPR capability can also be
6
We use the term complex in the sense that we cannot prove that Eq.(15) for general case has a unique xed solution.
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N 1
approximated by -persistent CSMA [19], where is given by Eq.(24) with p := k=M N 1 Ck
k (1

)N 1k .
Keeping in mind the result given in Eq.(24), for any given minimum contention window W and
maximum backoff stage m in IEEE 802.11 DCF, if we choose satisfying Eq.(24), then the system
throughput for IEEE 802.11 DCF is well approximated by the one for the corresponding -persistent
CSMA protocol. Thus, the system throughput of the optimal -persistent CSMA protocol, where
is the solution satisfying Eq.(15) with the settings of system parameters Ti , Ts and Tc given by
Eq.(13), is a theoretical upper bound for the one of 802.11 DCF.

VI. P ROPOSED O PTIMAL - PERSISTENT CSMA P ROTOCOL WITH MPR

Packet payload 8184 bits


MAC header 272 bits
PHY overhead 26 s
ACK 112 bits + PHY overhead
Basic rate 6 Mbps
Data rate 54 Mbps
Basic slot time 9 s
SIFS 10 s

TABLE I
S YSTEM PARAMETERS USED IN CARRIER SENSING PROTOCOL (IEEE 802.11 G )

50 50

45 45
The estimated number of active nodes
The estimated number of active nodes

40 40

35 N=30 35
N=30

30 30

25 25

20 20
N=15
N=15
15 15

N=7
10 N=7 10

5 5
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Index of update interval The index of update interval

(a) = 0.3 and L = 300 ms (b) = 0.7 and L = 100 ms

Fig. 10. The estimated number of active nodes versus update interval

In this section, we develop a simple -persistent CSMA protocol with MPR which achieves the
system throughput close to the maximum value with the conguration of system parameters such as
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50

45

The estimated number of active nodes


40

35

5 active nodes
30 are completed
5 active nodes
are injected
25

20

15

initially 15 active nodes


10
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
The index of update interval

Fig. 11. The performance of the estimation algorithm with L = 200 ms and = 0.6; initially N = 15 and an initial guess
for N is 50, in the middle of simulations 5 new active nodes are injected at the beginning of the 20-th update interval and
then 5 active nodes are terminated at the beginning of the 50-th update interval

Ti , Ts and Tc used in IEEE 802.11. The operation principle of the proposed protocol is to adjust the
transmission probability optimally depending on the number of active nodes in the network. The
proposed protocol requires each node to regularly update the number of active nodes at the end of
every update interval by employing a proper feedback mechanism for each node to get the information7
on the number of nodes involved in each successful transmission slot. The update interval can be set
as a multiple of the interval between two consecutive beacons (for example, a beacon interval is 100
ms as a default value in 802.11 WLAN). Consider the scenario that the number of active nodes in the

network is unknown and varies over time. The proposed algorithm is aloha -persistent CSMA protocol

which tunes the transmission probability aloha depending on the estimate of the number of active
nodes which can be obtained by using the algorithm proposed in section III-B. It is easy to see that
the proposed protocol operates almost optimally if i) the communication time until an active node
completes the transmissions of its whole data packets is relatively long8 (e.g., longer than several
update intervals) and ii) the protocol promptly reacts to the change in the number of active nodes in
the network. Through simulation, we show below that, after the proposed protocol detects the change
in the number of active nodes, it can estimate the number of active nodes promptly.
We next investigate how well the proposed algorithm to estimate the number of active nodes works
under the realistic WLANs environment. The system parameters used in carrier sensing protocols
are presented in Table I and are adopted from IEEE 802.11g standards. In Fig.10, two cases are
7
One of the ways to implement it is to insert the information into the ACK packet.
8
This assumption is usually valid in the scenario of le upload of nodes.
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considered; (a) L = 300 ms and = 0.3, and (b) L = 100 ms and = 0.7. The results are obtained
under the following assumptions: M = 5; all the nodes initially believes there are 50 active nodes
(note that to emphasize the promptness of the proposed algorithm, a relatively large initial value 50
is set.); there are actually 7, 15 and 30 active nodes, respectively, which we want to estimate. Each
gure contains 30 real trajectories to display the results of running 30 independent simulations. In
order to reach a good compromise between accuracy and promptness of the algorithm, as identied
in section III-B, a small = 0.3 is used with a long update interval L = 300 ms and a relatively
large = 0.7 with a short update interval L = 100 ms. In Fig.10, we notice that, starting from the
initial value 50, the estimate for N sharply decreases to the real value. After the transient period,
the algorithm is in quasi-stationary period and the estimate for N oscillates near the real value. It is
worth noting that the error between the estimate and ideal value in the quasi-stationary period is at
most 3 for all cases. Moreover, the length of the transient period is at most 1000 ms (=10 100 ms)
in the case of L = 100 ms and 1200 ms in the case of L = 300 ms, respectively.
To investigate how the proposed algorithm promptly reacts to the change in the number of actual
active nodes, we simulate the proposed algorithm under the following scenario: initially, there are
15 active nodes in the network; all the nodes assume that there might be 50 active nodes initially;
in the middle of simulations, 5 new active nodes are injected into the network at the beginning of
the 20-th update interval and then 5 active nodes are terminated at the beginning of the 50-th update
interval. Fig.11 plots the 30 real trajectories of results of running 30 independent simulations. The
result shows that the proposed algorithm promptly copes with the change in the number of active
nodes. Specically, recalling that L = 200 ms, after the change in the number of actual active nodes,
the transient period (the time which it takes for the proposed algorithm to get accurate estimates close
to the real value) is at most 1000 ms. Besides, the error between the estimates and the real value in
each quasi-stationary period is bounded above by two. We conclude this section with the following
two remarks.
Remark 7: The proposed optimal -persistent CSMA protocol can be also implemented on contention-
window basis. Let W be the contention window size of a node. Then, from the optimal transmission
obtained, the contention window W can be determined by W =
2 1 where
a is the least
integer not less than a.
Remark 8: When M < 4, the approximation of the -persistent CSMA to the slotted-Aloha may
not be accurate as identied in Section IV-B. We therefore need an iterative algorithm to obtain the
optimal transmission probability when M < 4. A heuristic algorithm which may be considered is
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as follows: As we can estimate E[X 2 ] and E[X] in each update interval, we can also estimate the
probabilities Pi and Ps . Thus, a similar iteration method proposed in Section III-B may be applied
using Eq.(15).

VII. D ISCUSSIONS

200
ideal CSMA (P =8184 bits)
data
180 CSMA DCF (P =8184 bits)
data
SlottedAloha (P =8184 bits)
160 data
ideal CSMA (P =4092 bits)
data
Maximum system throughput

140 CSMA DCF (P =4092 bits)


data
SlottedAloha (Pdata=4092 bits)
120

100

80

60

40

20

0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The MPRcapability M

Fig. 12. The comparison of the maximum system throughput between slotted-Aloha and -persistent CSMA protocols
when Pdata = 8184 bits and Pdata = 4092 bits, respectively, for N = 20

It is well-known and commonly believed that in the case of single-packet reception scenario
-persistent CSMA protocol outperforms the slotted-Aloha in terms of the achievable maximum
throughput. In this section, we discuss whether this result is still valid in the MPR scenario or not.
To this end, we consider three kinds of protocols; ideal-CSMA, CSMA-DCF and slotted-Aloha as
presented in Fig.12. First, ideal-CSMA is the optimal -persistent CSMA protocol where Ti = ,
Ts = H + Pdata /R + SIF S + ACK and Tc = H + Pdata /R + SIF S , and is the solution
satisfying Eq.(15). Therefore, the ideal-CSMA protocol is able to know immediately whether the
channel is busy or not. Second, CSMA-DCF is the optimal -persistent protocol where Ti = ,
Ts = H + Pdata /R + SIF S + ACK + DIF S and Tc = H + Pdata /R + DIF S , and is the
solution satisfying Eq.(15). The only difference between the ideal-CSMA protocol and the CSMA-
DCF protocol is that the ideal-CSMA protocol does not need DIFS for carrier sensing. Finally,

slotted-Aloha is the slotted-Aloha protocol with the optimal transmission probability aloha where

Ts (= Ti = Tc ) = H + Pdata /R + SIF S + ACK and aloha is the solution satisfying Eq.(5). Fig.12
plots the maximum throughput for the three protocols versus the MPR-capability M when data payload
sizes are 8184 bits and 4092 bits, respectively, for N = 20. We see that the ideal-CSMA protocol
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gives the best throughput among the three protocols for all cases. On the other hand, it is interesting
to note that when M 3 the CSMA-DCF protocol outperforms the slotted-Aloha protocol, but with
the increase of M the slotted-Aloha protocol gives higher throughput than the CSMA-DCF protocol
regardless of the length of data payload. This result is expected because with the increase of M
the DIFS overhead for carrier sensing more negatively affects the system throughput. In addition, it
is worth noting that with the increase of MPR-capability M the throughput gap between the ideal-
CSMA protocol and the slotted-Aloha becomes less. This nding provides us with a new guideline
to be considered when designing MAC protocols in MPR scenario.

VIII. C ONCLUSIONS

In this paper, we investigate the impact of MPR on the MAC layer behavior where the study
is carried out by considering both slotted-Aloha and -persistent CSMA protocols. Based on the
result, we eventually develop a simple -persistent protocol with MPR which can achieve a system
throughput close to the maximum value. The main results obtained in this paper are summarized as
follows. We rst obtain the optimal transmission probability in slotted-Aloha protocol with MPR. We
show that the optimal transmission probability in slotted-Aloha with MPR is related to the length bias
concept. Second, the result provides us with an useful metric ( EE[X ] 2

[X] where X is the number of nodes

involved in each successful transmission slot) which enables each node to estimate the the number
of active nodes in a distributed manner. Third, we obtain the optimal transmission probability in -
persistent CSMA protocol with MPR. We show that under certain conditions the optimal transmission
probability in -persistent CSMA protocol is well approximated by the one in slotted-Aloha protocol.
This nding allows us to directly apply the estimation algorithm developed in slotted-Aloha protocol
to -persistent CSMA protocol. Thus, fourth we develop a -persistent CSMA protocol where the
transmission probability of each node is dynamically and optimally tuned depending on the estimated
number of active nodes. The proposed protocol can achieve a system throughput close to the maximum
value in the case that the completion time of an active node (e.g., le transfer) is relatively long.
As a by-product of our study, we identify that in the MPR scenario -persistent CSMA protocol is
not always superior to slotted-Aloha, contrary to what is known in the single-packet reception model.
This nding is useful in that it provides a new guideline when designing a MAC protocol with MPR.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This research was supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
of Canada and was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean
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Government(Ministry of Education, Science and Technology), Korea (NRF-355-2011-1-C00015).

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Yun Han Bae received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Mathematics from Korea University,
Seoul, Korea, in 2003, 2005 and 2009, respectively. He is an assistant professor in the Department of
Mathematics Education, Sangmyung University, Seoul, Korea. His research interests include queueing
theory and its applications to communication systems, and performance analysis of protocols and
wireless networks.

Bong Dae Choi is a Professor at Department of Mathematics, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul,


Korea. He received B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from Kyungpook University, and received Ph.D. in
Mathematics from Ohio State University, 1980. He had worked as a professor at KAIST (1983-1999)
and Korea University (1999-2012), Korea. He received best paper award from IEE in 2000 and he was
awarded Seoul Culture Prize in Science in 2001. He is a fellow of Korea Academy of Science and
Technology. He was an editor of Journal of Communications and Networks, and an associate editor of
Queueing Systems, and is an associate editor of Telecommunication Systems. His areas of interest include queueing theory
and its applications to the communication systems. His recent interests are performance evaluation of IEEE 802.11, 15.4,
16e, power saving scheme, cognitive radio networks and IEEE 802.11p/1609.4 WAVE. He has published about 115 papers
in referred journals. His papers have appeared in Queueing Systems, Journal of Applied Probability, IEEE, IEE, IEICE,
Performance Evaluation, Telecommunication Systems, Computer Networks and others.
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Attahiru S. Alfa is Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University
of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was NSERC Industrial Research Chair of Telecommu-
nications from 2004 to 2012. He carries out research in the areas of queueing and network theories
with applications mostly to telecommunication systems. His current research interests are in the area
of wireless communication networks with recent focus on cognitive radio networks, mobility, Internet
trafc, channel modelling, stochastic models, performance analysis, and teletrafc forecasting models.
He has contributed signicantly in the area of matrix-analytic methods for stochastic models used in telecommunications.
He belongs to the following organizations: APEGM, IEEE, and INFORMS.