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Multi-rate relaying for performance improvement in IEEE 802.11 WLANs

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It is well known that the presence of nodes using a low data transmit rate has a disproportionate impact on the performance of an IEEE 802.11 WLAN. ORP is an opportunistic relay protocol that allows nodes to increase their effective transmit rate by replacing a low data rate transmission with a two-hop sequence of shorter range, higher data rate transmissions, using an intermediate node as a relay. ORP differs from existing protocols in discovering relays experimentally, by optimistically making frames available for relaying. Relays identify themselves as suitable relays by forwarding these frames. This approach has several advantages compared with previously proposed relay protocols: Most importantly, ORP does not rely on observations of received signal strength to infer the availability of relay nodes and transmit rates. We present analytic and simulation results showing that ORP improves the throughput by up to 40% in a saturated IEEE 802.11b network.

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