Joint Link Rate Selection and Adaptive Forward Error Correction for High-Rate Wireless Multicast


Multicast communication over wireless networks has many potential applications, such as real-time audiovisual content distribution or digital signage systems with multiple remote terminals. However, today?s common 802.11 networks cannot fully support such applications at the link layer due to the technical challenges in achieving both high transmission rate and high reliability for multicast data transfers. Those challenges primarily emerge from the inapplicability of immediate acknowledgment mechanisms of unicast transmissions to the multicast case and the need for finding a common transmission rate for all receivers with diverse channel conditions. The research literature in this domain mainly addresses the problem at the higher layers of the protocol stack. In this article, we present a novel approach that combines wireless link rate selection with an adaptive packet-level Forward Error Correction (FEC) mechanism in order to achieve high-rate and highly reliable multicast in 802.11 wireless networks. The integration of FEC into the 802.11 MAC layer allows direct interaction between the transmission rate and the coding scheme. As a result, potential packet losses caused by higher link rates can be compensated by the adjustable redundancy provided by FEC. In combination with an aggregated receiver feedback mechanism, this yields improved transmission efficiency and reliability for wireless multicast. We investigate this approach in a simulation environment under a realistic wireless channel model in various application scenarios with up to 50 receivers. The results represent significant performance improvements, in terms of throughput, channel utilization, and packet loss, over the state-of-the-art methods for reliable wireless multicast.

  author={Geithner, Thomas and Sivrikaya, Fikret and Albayrak, Sahin},
  journal={IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society}, 
  title={Joint Link Rate Selection and Adaptive Forward Error Correction for High-Rate Wireless Multicast}, 
IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society