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CELL BREATHING TECHNIQUES FOR LOAD BALANCING IN WIRELESS LANS

Maximizing network throughput while providing fairness is one of the key challenges in wireless LANs (WLANs). This goal is typically achieved when the load of access points (APs) is balanced. Recent studies on operational WLANs, however, have shown that AP load is often substantially uneven. To alleviate such imbalance of load, several load balancing schemes have been proposed. These schemes commonly require proprietary software or hardware at the user side for controlling the user-AP association. In this paper we present a new load balancing technique by controlling the size of WLAN cells (i.e., AP’s coverage range), which is conceptually similar to cell breathing in cellular networks. The proposed scheme does not require any modification to the users neither the IEEE 802.11 standard. It only requires the ability of dynamically changing the transmission power of the AP beacon messages. We develop a set of polynomial time algorithms that find the optimal beacon power settings which minimize the load of the most congested AP. We also consider the problem of network-wide min-max load balancing. Simulation results show that the performance of the proposed method is comparable with or superior to the best existing association-based methods.



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