In upcoming very high-speed wireless LANs (WLANs), the physical (PHY) layer rate may reach 600 Mbps. To achieve high efficiency at the medium access control (MAC) layer, we identify fundamental properties that must be satisfied by any CSMA-/CA-based MAC layers and develop a novel scheme called aggregation with fragment retransmission (AFR) that exhibits these properties. In the AFR scheme, multiple packets are aggregated into and transmitted in a single large frame. If errors happen during the transmission, only the corrupted fragments of the large frame are retransmitted. An analytic model is developed to evaluate the throughput and delay performance of AFR over noisy channels and to compare AFR with similar schemes in the literature. Optimal frame and fragment sizes are calculated using this model. Transmission delays are minimized by using a zero-waiting mechanism where frames are transmitted immediately once the MAC wins a transmission opportunity. We prove that zero-waiting can achieve maximum throughput. As a complement to the theoretical analysis, we investigate the impact of AFR on the performance of realistic application traffic with diverse requirements by simulations. We have implemented the AFR scheme in the NS-2 simulator and present detailed results for TCP, VoIP, and HDTV traffic.
The AFR scheme described was developed as part of the IEEE 802.11n working group work. The analysis presented here is general enough to be extended to proposed schemes in the upcoming 802.11n standard. Trends indicated in this paper should extend to any well-designed aggregation schemes.