Measurement Driven Deployment of a Two-Tier Urban Mesh Access Network
Multihop wireless mesh networks can provide Internet access over a wide area with minimal infrastructure expenditure. In this work, we present a measurement driven deployment strategy and a data-driven model to study the impact of design and topology decisions on network-wide performance and cost. We perform extensive measurements in a two-tier urban scenario to characterize the propagation environment and correlate received signal strength with application layer throughput. We find that well-known estimates for pathloss produce either heavily overprovisioned networks resulting in an order of magnitude increase in cost for high pathloss estimates or completely disconnected networks for low pathloss estimates. Modeling throughput with wireless interface manufacturer specifications similarly results in severely underprovisioned networks. Further, we measure competing, multihop flow traffic matrices to empirically define achievable throughputs of fully backlogged, rate limited, and web-emulated traffic. We find that while fully backlogged flows produce starving nodes, rate-controlling flows to a fixed value yields fairness and high aggregate throughput. Likewise, transmission gaps occurring in statistically multiplexed web traffic, even under high offered load, remove starvation and yield high performance. In comparison, we find that well-known noncompeting flow models for mesh networks over-estimate network-wide throughput by a factor of 2. Finally, our placement study shows that a regular grid topology achieves up to 50 percent greater throughput than random node placement.