Towards the design of an energy-aware path selection metric for IEEE 802.11s wireless mesh network

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University of Zululand
It is everyone’s dream to have network connectivity all the time. This dream can only be realised provided there are feasible solutions that are put in place for the next generation of wireless works. Wireless Mesh Networking (WMN) is therefore seen as a solution to the next generation of wireless networks because of the fact that WMNs configures itself and it is also self healing. A new standard for WMNs called the IEEE 802.11s is still under development. The protocol that is used by the IEEE 802.11s for routing is called Hybrid Wireless Mesh Protocol (HWMP). The main purpose of HWMP is to perform routing at layer-2 of the OSI model also referred to as the data link layer (DLL). Layer-2 routing is also referred to as the mesh path selection and forwarding. Devices that are compliant to the IEEE 802.11s standard will be able to use this path selection protocol. Devices that are manufactured by different vendors will therefore be interoperable. Even though significant efforts have gone into improving the performance of HWMP, the protocol still faces a lot of limitations and the most limiting factor is the small or restricted energy of the batteries in a wireless network. This is because of the assumption that mesh nodes that are deployed in urban areas tend to have no energy constraints while WMN nodes deployed in rural faces serious energy challenges. The latter relies on batteries and not on electricity supply which powers the WMN nodes in urban areas. This work, therefore, explores further the current trends towards maximising the network lifetime for the energy constrained networks. Hence the goal of this study is to design a path selection algorithm that is energyaware and optimising for the IEEE 802.11s based HWMP. The main idea is that paths with enough energy for transmission must be selected when transmitting packets in the network. Therefore, a simulation using NS-2 was carried out to assess the network performance of the proposed EAPM metric with the other metrics that have been analysed in literature including ETX. ETX has been used in WMNs but was not developed specifically for mesh. In conclusion, EAPM conserves more energy than the Multimetric, airtime link metric and lastly ETX. The simulation experiments show that EAPM optimises the energy used in the network and as a result EAPM has a prolonged network lifespan when comparing it to the rest of the metrics evaluated in this study. The results also revealed that the newly proposed EAPM exhibits superior performance characteristics even with regard to issues like end-to-end delay and packet delivery ratio.
Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Communication Science at the University of Zululand, South Africa, 2012.
Network connectivity, Wireless Mesh Networking, Wireless Networks