SDI Seminar

Speaker: David Eckhardt, CMU

Measurement and Analysis of the Error Characteristics of an In Building Wireless Network David Eckhardt and Peter Steenkiste

Date: September 12, 1996

Abstract: There is general belief that networks based on wireless technologies have much higher error rates than those based on more traditional technologies such as optical fiber, coaxial cable, or twisted pair wiring. This difference has motivated research on new protocol suites specifically for wireless networks. While the error characteristics of wired networks have been well documented, less experimental data is available for wireless LANs.

In this paper we report the results of a study characterizing the error environment provided by AT\&T WaveLAN, a commercial product designed for constructing 2 Mb/s in-building wireless networks. We evaluated the effects of interfering radiation sources, and of attenuation due to distance and obstacles, on the packet loss rate and bit error rate. We found that under many conditions the error rate of this physical layer is comparable to that of wired links. We analyze the implications of our results on today's CSMA/CA based wireless LANs and on future pico-cellular shared-medium reservation-based wireless networks.