Towards Optimal Buffer Size in Wi-Fi Networks

  • Ahmad Showail

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Buffer sizing is an important network configuration parameter that impacts the quality of data traffic. Falling memory cost and the fallacy that ‘more is better’ lead to over provisioning network devices with large buffers. Over-buffering or the so called ‘bufferbloat’ phenomenon creates excessive end-to-end delay in today’s networks. On the other hand, under-buffering results in frequent packet loss and subsequent under-utilization of network resources. The buffer sizing problem has been studied extensively for wired networks. However, there is little work addressing the unique challenges of wireless environment. In this dissertation, we discuss buffer sizing challenges in wireless networks, classify the state-of-the-art solutions, and propose two novel buffer sizing schemes. The first scheme targets buffer sizing in wireless multi-hop networks where the radio spectral resource is shared among a set of con- tending nodes. Hence, it sizes the buffer collectively and distributes it over a set of interfering devices. The second buffer sizing scheme is designed to cope up with recent Wi-Fi enhancements. It adapts the buffer size based on measured link characteristics and network load. Also, it enforces limits on the buffer size to maximize frame aggregation benefits. Both mechanisms are evaluated using simulation as well as testbed implementation over half-duplex and full-duplex wireless networks. Experimental evaluation shows that our proposal reduces latency by an order of magnitude.
Date of AwardJan 19 2016
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorBasem Shihada (Supervisor)


  • bufferbloat
  • wifi
  • wqm
  • TCP
  • DNB
  • Buffer sizing

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