DMesh: Incorporating Practical Directional Antennas in Multichannel Wireless Mesh Networks
IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Wireless mesh networks (WMNs) have been proposed as an effective solution for ubiquitous last-mile broadband access. Three key factors that affect the usability of WMNs are high throughput, cost-effectiveness, and ease of deployability. In this paper, we propose DMesh, a WMN architecture that combines spatial separation from directional antennas with frequency separation from orthogonal channels to improve the throughput of WMNs. DMesh achieves this improvement without inhibiting
... ess and ease of deployability by utilizing practical directional antennas that are widely and cheaply available (e.g., patch and yagi) in contrast to costly and bulky smart beamforming directional antennas. Thus, the key challenge in DMesh is to exploit spatial separation from such practical directional antennas despite their lack of electronic steerability and interference nulling, as well as the presence of significant sidelobes and backlobes. In this paper, we study how such practical directional antennas can improve the throughput of a WMN. Central to our architecture is a distributed, directional channel assignment algorithm for mesh routers that effectively exploits the spatial and frequency separation opportunities in a DMesh network. Simulation results show that DMesh improves the throughput of WMNs by up to 231% and reduces packet delay drastically compared to a multiradio multichannel omni antenna network. A DMesh implementation in our 16-node 802.11b WMN testbed using commercially available practical directional antennas provides transmission control protocol throughput gains ranging from 31% to 57%. Index Terms-Directional antennas, multiple channels, wireless mesh networks (WMNs).