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Keywords:

  • quality of service;
  • CSMA/CA;
  • medium access control;
  • 802.11;
  • collision detection;
  • reliable multicast;
  • performance evaluation

Abstract

Compared to unicast traffic, multicast is not protected by any ARQ mechanism in 802.11 networks: collisions with other multicast and unicast transmissions are not detected and senders will not adapt to the contention situation by backing off. This results in an unreliable service for multicast transmissions.

We propose early multicast collision detection (EMCD), an algorithm with the purpose of increasing the reliability of multicast transmissions in the MAC layer of an IEEE 802.11 network. A multicast sender using it will introduce an early pause in a transmission, perform a clear channel assessment (CCA), and if a collision is detected abort the transmission after a fixed time and schedule a retransmission. This allows for detecting collisions with both multicast and unicast transmissions but also adapting to the contention situation.

A probabilistic analysis is provided showing that EMCD is more efficient than ordinary multicast and can be made even more efficient by tuning parameters.

Simulations show that EMCD leads to increased reliability for multicast transmissions. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.