Successive Interference Cancellation: Carving Out MAC Layer Opportunities
IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Successive interference cancellation (SIC) is a PHY capability that allows a receiver to decode packets that arrive simultaneously. While the technique is well known in communications literature, emerging software radio platforms are making practical experimentation feasible. This motivates us to study the extent of throughput gains possible with SIC from a MAC layer perspective and scenarios where such gains are worth pursuing. We find that contrary to our initial expectation, the gains are
... n, the gains are not high when the bits of interfering signals are not known a priori to the receiver. Moreover, we observe that the scope for SIC gets squeezed by the advances in bitrate adaptation. In particular, our analysis shows that interfering one-to-one transmissions benefit less from SIC than scenarios with many-to-one transmissions (such as when clients upload data to a common access point). In view of this, we develop an SIC-aware scheduling algorithm that employs client pairing and power reduction to extract the most gains from SIC. We believe that our findings will be useful guidelines for moving forward with SIC-aware protocol research.