This paper proposes COPE, a new architecture for wireless mesh networks. In addition to forwarding packets, routers mix (i.e., code) packets from different sources to increase the information content of each transmission. We show that intelligently mixing packets increases network throughput. Our design is rooted in the theory of network coding. Prior work on network coding is mainly theoretical and focuses on multicast traffic. This paper aims to bridge theory with practice; it addresses the common case of unicast traffic, dynamic and potentially bursty flows, and practical issues facing the integration of network coding in the current network stack. We evaluate our design on a 20-node wireless network, and discuss the results of the first testbed deployment of wireless network coding. The results show that COPE largely increases network throughput. The gains vary from a few percent to several folds depending on the traffic pattern, congestion level, and transport protocol.
Abstract-We present a distributed random linear network coding approach for transmission and compression of information in general multisource multicast networks. Network nodes independently and randomly select linear mappings from inputs onto output links over some field. We show that this achieves capacity with probability exponentially approaching 1 with the code length. We also demonstrate that random linear coding performs compression when necessary in a network, generalizing error exponents for linear Slepian-Wolf coding in a natural way. Benefits of this approach are decentralized operation and robustness to network changes or link failures. We show that this approach can take advantage of redundant network capacity for improved success probability and robustness. We illustrate some potential advantages of random linear network coding over routing in two examples of practical scenarios: distributed network operation and networks with dynamically varying connections. Our derivation of these results also yields a new bound on required field size for centralized network coding on general multicast networks.
Abstract-We present a model for time-varying communication single-access and multiple-access channels without feedback. We consider the difference between mutual information when the receiver knows the channel perfectly and mutual information when the receiver only has an estimate of the channel. We relate the variance of the channel measurement error at the receiver to upper and lower bounds for this difference in mutual information. We illustrate the use of our bounds on a channel modeled by a Gauss-Markov process, measured by a pilot tone. We relate the rate of time variation of the channel to the loss in mutual information due to imperfect knowledge of the measured channel.
We consider the use of random linear network coding in lossy packet networks. In particular, we consider the following simple strategy: nodes store the packets that they receive and, whenever they have a transmission opportunity, they send out coded packets formed from random linear combinations of stored packets. In such a strategy, intermediate nodes perform additional coding yet do not decode nor wait for a block of packets before sending out coded packets. Moreover, all coding and decoding operations have polynomial complexity.We show that, provided packet headers can be used to carry an amount of side-information that grows arbitrarily large (but independently of payload size), random linear network coding achieves packet-level capacity for both single unicast and single multicast connections and for both wireline and wireless networks. This result holds as long as packets received on links arrive according to processes that have average rates. Thus packet losses on links may exhibit correlations in time or with losses on other links. In the special case of Poisson traffic with i.i.d. losses, we give error exponents that quantify the rate of decay of the probability of error with coding delay. Our analysis of random linear network coding shows not only that it achieves packet-level capacity, but also that the propagation of packets carrying "innovative" information follows the propagation of jobs through a queueing network, thus implying that fluid flow models yield good approximations.
We consider the problem of establishing minimumcost multicast connections over coded packet networks, i.e. packet networks where the contents of outgoing packets are arbitrary, causal functions of the contents of received packets. We consider both wireline and wireless packet networks as well as both static multicast (where membership of the multicast group remains constant for the duration of the connection) and dynamic multicast (where membership of the multicast group changes in time, with nodes joining and leaving the group).For static multicast, we reduce the problem to a polynomialtime solvable optimization problem, and we present decentralized algorithms for solving it. These algorithms, when coupled with existing decentralized schemes for constructing network codes, yield a fully decentralized approach for achieving minimumcost multicast. By contrast, establishing minimum-cost static multicast connections over routed packet networks is a very difficult problem even using centralized computation, except in the special cases of unicast and broadcast connections.For dynamic multicast, we reduce the problem to a dynamic programming problem and apply the theory of dynamic programming to suggest how it may be solved.
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