• quality of service;
  • real-time guarantees;
  • scheduling algorithms;
  • performance evaluation;
  • wireless lan


The IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless networks has been recently enhanced with the IEEE 802.11e amendment which introduces Quality of Service support. It provides differentiation mechanisms at the Medium Access Control layer, using two additional access functions: the Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA) function and the HCF Controlled Channel Access (HCCA) function. Only the HCCA mechanism is suitable for serving traffic streams with real-time requirements such as multimedia applications and Voice Over IP. The IEEE 802.11e standard does not specify a mandatory HCCA scheduling algorithm, but it offers a reference scheduler as the guideline in the resources scheduling design.

In this paper we analyze four HCCA alternative schedulers to the reference one. They offer real-time guarantees proposing different solutions to the request of QoS and real-time support expressed by the increasing diffusion of multimedia applications. A performance evaluation is conducted to show the main differences between the considered schedulers, including the reference one.

The results show that under several scenarios there is not a unique best scheduler, but there exists a variety of solutions depending on the specified requirements. The conclusions of the paper offer some guidelines in the choice of the scheduler tailored for a particular scenario of interest. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.