MAC Protocols for Wireless Mesh Networks with Multi-beam Antennas: A Survey

by   Gang Wang, et al.

Multi-beam antenna technologies have provided lots of promising solutions to many current challenges faced in wireless mesh networks. The antenna can establish several beamformings simultaneously and initiate concurrent transmissions or receptions using multiple beams, thereby increasing the overall throughput of the network transmission. Multi-beam antenna has the ability to increase the spatial reuse, extend the transmission range, improve the transmission reliability, as well as save the power consumption. Traditional Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols for wireless network largely relied on the IEEE 802.11 Distributed Coordination Function(DCF) mechanism, however, IEEE 802.11 DCF cannot take the advantages of these unique capabilities provided by multi-beam antennas. This paper surveys the MAC protocols for wireless mesh networks with multi-beam antennas. The paper first discusses some basic information in designing multi-beam antenna system and MAC protocols, and then presents the main challenges for the MAC protocols in wireless mesh networks compared with the traditional MAC protocols. A qualitative comparison of the existing MAC protocols is provided to highlight their novel features, which provides a reference for designing the new MAC protocols. To provide some insights on future research, several open issues of MAC protocols are discussed for wireless mesh networks using multi-beam antennas.


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