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Publication# Schemes and architectures for wireless ad hoc networks and cooperative communication

Thèse EPFL

Résumé

The focus of this thesis is on the study of decentralized wireless multi-hop networks. We are particularly interested in establishing bounds on the traffic-carrying capabilities of wireless ad hoc networks and conditions on the scalability of such networks with node mobility. This theoretical investigation brings forward challenges on the design of such networks. This leads to a second part of this thesis that considers the feasibility and the design of physical layer architectures and schemes for decentralized wireless multi-hop networks. In the first part of this thesis, bounds on the capacity of wireless ad hoc networks with two types of non-uniform traffic patterns are established. We focus on the impact of traffic patterns where local communications predominate and show the improvement in terms of per user-capacity over ad hoc networks with unbounded average communication distances. We then study the capacity of hybrid wireless networks, where long-distance relaying is performed by a fixed overlay network of base-stations. We investigate the scaling of capacity versus the number of nodes and the density of base-stations in the area of the network. It is shown that the gain in performance is mainly due to the reduction in the mean number of hops from source to destination. Then, we investigate the impact of mobility on the ad hoc network capacity. We propose a set of necessary and sufficient conditions under which the long-term averaged throughput in an ad hoc network can remain constant as the number of nodes increases. The main idea is to use a connectivity graph that does not represent the actual physical network, but rather the available communication resources. This graph also allows to translate the problem of maximizing the throughput in ad hoc networks to the multi-commodity flow problem and directly apply related results. In contrast to these macroscopic studies, in the second part we focus on a microscopic analysis of ad hoc wireless networks. We are interested in characterizing the performance of decentralized multiple-access and retransmission schemes for multi-hop wireless networks with the goal of drawing conclusions on cross-layer design. We investigate different transmission strategies in order to assess the tradeoff between spatial density of communications and the range of each transmission. We present tools for characterizing the spatial throughput as a function of topological parameters (e.g node population density) and system parameters (propagation, bandwith etc). The results of this work also show that coding and retransmissions provide means of reliable communication coupled with a completely decentralized multiple-access strategy. Finally, an efficient protocol for the delay-limited fading Automatic Retransmission reQuest (ARQ) single relay channel is considered for cooperative communications. The proposed protocol exploits two kinds of diversity: (i) space diversity available through the cooperative (relay) terminal, which retransmits the source's signals, (ii) ARQ diversity obtained by leveraging the retransmission delay to enhance the reliability. The performance characterization is in terms of the achievable diversity, multiplexing gain and delay tradeoff for a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) regime. Then, by letting the source's power level vary over the retransmission rounds, we show the benefits of power control on the diversity.

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Wireless adhoc networks consist of users that want to communicate with each other over a shared wireless medium. The users have transmitting and receiving capabilities but there is no additional infrastructure for assisting communication. This is in contrast to existing wireless systems, cellular networks for example, where communication between wireless users heavily relies on an additional infrastructure of base stations connected with a high-capacity wired backbone. The fact that they are infrastructureless makes wireless adhoc networks inexpensive, easy to build and robust but at the same time technically more challenging. The fundamental challenge is how to deal with interference: many simultaneous transmissions have to be accommodated on the same wireless channel when each of these transmissions constitutes interference for the others, degrading the quality of the communication. The traditional approach to wireless adhoc networks is to organize users so that they relay information for each other in a multi-hop fashion. Such multi-hopping strategies face scalability problems at large system size. As shown by Gupta and Kumar in their seminal work in 2000, the maximal communication rate per user under such strategies scales inversely proportional to the square root of the number of users in the network, hence decreases to zero with increasing system size. This limitation is due to interference that precludes having many simultaneous point-to-point transmissions inside the network. In this thesis, we propose a multiscale hierarchical cooperation architecture for distributed MIMO communication in wireless adhoc networks. This novel architecture removes the interference limitation at least as far as scaling is concerned: we show that the per-user communication rate under this strategy does not degrade significantly even if there are more and more users entering into the network. This is in sharp contrast to the performance achieved by the classical multi-hopping schemes. However, the overall picture is much richer than what can be depicted by a single scheme or a single scaling law formula. Nowadays, wireless adhoc networks are considered for a wide range of practical applications and this translates to having a number of system parameters (e.g., area, power, bandwidth) with large operational range. Different applications lie in different parameter ranges and can therefore exhibit different characteristics. A thorough understanding of wireless adhoc networks can only be obtained by exploring the whole parameter space. Existing scaling law formulations are insufficient for this purpose as they concentrate on very small subsets of the system parameters. We propose a new scaling law formulation for wireless adhoc networks that serves as a mathematical tool to characterize their fundamental operating regimes. For the standard wireless channel model where signals are subject to power path-loss attenuation and random phase changes, we identify four qualitatively different operating regimes in wireless adhoc networks with large number of users. In each of these regimes, we characterize the dependence of the capacity on major system parameters. In particular, we clarify the impact of the power and bandwidth limitations on performance. This is done by deriving upper bounds on the information theoretic capacity of wireless adhoc networks in Chapter 3, and constructing communication schemes that achieve these upper bounds in Chapter 4. Our analysis identifies three engineering quantities that together determine the operating regime of a given wireless network: the short-distance signal-to-noise power ratio (SNRs), the long-distance signal-to-noise power ratio (SNRl) and the power path-loss exponent of the environment. The right communication strategy for a given application is dictated by its operating regime. We show that conventional multi-hopping schemes are optimal when the power path-loss exponent of the environment is larger than 3 and SNRs ≪ 0 dB. Such networks are extremely power-limited. On the other hand, the novel architecture proposed in this thesis, based on hierarchical cooperation and distributed MIMO, is the fundamentally right strategy for wireless networks with SNRl ≫ 0 dB. Such networks experience no power limitation. In the intermediate cases, captured by the remaining two operating regimes, neither multi-hopping nor hierarchical-MIMO achieves optimal performance. We construct new schemes for these regimes that achieve capacity. The proposed characterization of wireless adhoc networks in terms of their fundamental operating regimes, is analogous to the familiar understanding of the two operating regimes of the point-to-point additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel. From an engineering point of view, one of the most important contributions of Shannon's celebrated capacity formula is to identify two qualitatively different operating regimes on this channel. Determined by its signal-to-noise power ratio (SNR), an AWGN channel can be either in a bandwidth-limited (SNR ≫ 0 dB) or a power-limited (SNR ≪ 0 dB) regime. Communication system design for this channel has been primarily driven by the operating regime one is in.

In this paper we will propose a relaying scheme for wireless multi-hop networks. It is based on collaboration of intermediate relays at network layer to forward useful side information in place of dumbly forwarding packets. In our scheme we assume that the nodes are not able to benefit from any interference cancellation mechanism. The channels from sender to relay nodes and from sender to receiver are logically separated through a temporal scheduling. This model is realistic for many practical scenarios in the context of wireless networks. We will show in this paper the information theoretic bounds and show that they are achievable using practical codes. The proposed coding scheme is simulated in realistic scenarios. The obtained results show a remarkable improvement in throughput, relay load and reliability compared to network using classical routing approach.

2005We consider the question of what performance metric to maximize when designing adhoc wireless network protocols such as routing or MAC. We focus on maximizing rates under battery lifetime and power constraints. Commonly used metrics are total capacity (in the case of cellular networks) and transport capacity (in the case of adhoc networks). However, it is known in traditional wired networking that maximizing total capacity conflicts with fairness, and this is why fairness oriented rate allocations, such as max-min fairness, are often used. We review this issue for wireless ad-hoc networks. Indeed, the mathematical model for wireless networks has a specificity that makes some of the findings different. It has been reported in the literature on Ultra Wide Band that gross unfairness occurs when maximizing total capacity or transport capacity, and we confirm by a theoretical analysis that this is a fundamental shortcoming of such metrics in wireless ad-hoc networks, as it is for wired networks. The story is different for max-min fairness. Although it is perfectly viable for a wired network, it is much less so in our setting. We show that, in the limit of long battery lifetime, the max-min allocation of rates always leads to strictly equal rates, regardless of the MAC layer, network topology, choice of routes and power constraints. This is due to the ``solidarity

2004