Adaptive Multi-Channel Clustering in IEEE 802.11s Wireless Mesh Networks

Michael Rethfeldt, Tim Brockmann, Benjamin Beichler, Christian Haubelt, Dirk Timmermann
2021 Sensors  
WLAN mesh networks are one of the key technologies for upcoming smart city applications and are characterized by a flexible and low-cost deployment. The standard amendment IEEE 802.11s introduces low-level mesh interoperability at the WLAN MAC layer. However, scalability limitations imposed by management traffic overhead, routing delays, medium contention, and interference are common issues in wireless mesh networks and also apply to IEEE 802.11s networks. Possible solutions proposed in the
more » ... rature recommend a divide-and-conquer scheme that partitions the network into clusters and forms smaller collision and broadcast domains by assigning orthogonal channels. We present CHaChA (Clustering Heuristic and Channel Assignment), a distributed cross-layer approach for cluster formation and channel assignment that directly integrates the default IEEE 802.11s mesh protocol information and operating modes, retaining unrestricted compliance to the WLAN standard. Our concept proposes further mechanisms for dynamic cluster adaptation, including subsequent cluster joining, isolation and fault detection, and node roaming for cluster balancing. The practical performance of CHaChA is demonstrated in a real-world 802.11s testbed. We first investigate clustering reproducibility, duration, and communication overhead in static network scenarios of different sizes. We then validate our concepts for dynamic cluster adaptation, considering topology changes that are likely to occur during long-term network operation and maintenance.
doi:10.3390/s21217215 pmid:34770523 pmcid:PMC8588358 fatcat:4ayxa3bkhncb3abwdorlgoforu