Abstract

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.