Medium access and transport protocol aspects in practical 802.11ad networks
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The use of directional antennas in millimeter-wave communication promises high spatial reuse at multi-gigabit-persecond data rates in dense wireless networks. Existing work studies such networks using commercial hardware but is limited to individual links. Moreover, such hardware typically allows for little or no control of the lower layers of the protocol stack. In this paper, we study the performance of dense millimeterwave deployments featuring up to eight stations. To this end, we use a practical IEEE 802.11ad millimeter-wave testbed that allows access to the lower layer parameters of each station. This enables us to analyze the impact of these parameters on upper layer performance. We study, for first time to our best knowledge, issues such as the impact of channel contention on the buffer size at the transport layer, the effect of frame aggregation, and the efficiency of spatial sharing. Our results show that using large buffer sizes with TCP is harmful due to channel contention despite the multi-gigabit-per-second data rates. Further, frame aggregation is only beneficial up to a certain level due to higher error rates for large frames. Finally, we also study delay, showing that the regular beacon transmission time can degrade performance.