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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Improving TCP Performance over Wireless Ad Hoc Networks with Busy Tone Assisted Scheme

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20062006:051610

Received: 1 August 2005

Accepted: 29 December 2005

Published: 12 March 2006


It is well known that transmission control protocol (TCP) performance degrades severely in IEEE 802.11-based wireless ad hoc networks. We first identify two critical issues leading to the TCP performance degradation: (1) unreliable broadcast, since broadcast frames are transmitted without the request-to-send and clear-to-send (RTS/CTS) dialog and Data/ACK handshake, so they are vulnerable to the hidden terminal problem; and (2) false link failure which occurs when a node cannot successfully transmit data temporarily due to medium contention. We then propose a scheme to use a narrow-bandwidth, out-of-band busy tone channel to make reservation for broadcast and link error detection frames only. The proposed scheme is simple and power efficient, because only the sender needs to transmit two short messages in the busy tone channel before sending broadcast or link error detection frames in the data channel. Analytical results show that the proposed scheme can dramatically reduce the collision probability of broadcast and link error detection frames. Extensive simulations with different network topologies further demonstrate that the proposed scheme can improve TCP throughput by 23% to 150%, depending on user mobility, and effectively enhance both short-term and long-term fairness among coexisting TCP flows in multihop wireless ad hoc networks.


  • User Mobility
  • Transmission Control Protocol
  • Collision Probability
  • Link Failure
  • Data Channel


Authors’ Affiliations

Research In Motion (RIM), Ottawa, Canada
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada


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© Qi He et al. 2006

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.