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The combination of unlicensed spectrum, cheap wireless interfaces
and the inherent convenience of untethered computing have made
802.11, Bluetooth, and similar wireless networks ubiquitous in the
enterprise. Modern universities, corporate campuses and government
offices routinely deploy scores of access points to blanket their
sites with wireless Internet access. More recently, neighborhoods and
municipalities have begun to deploy wireless mesh access networks. However, while the fine-grained
behavior of the 802.11 protocol itself has been well studied, our
understanding of how to address the challenges facing large 802.11
networks is surprisingly limited.
A great deal of research over the past few years has focused on studying
and improving the performance of these deployments.
This course will survey seminal and recent work in wireless networking,
focusing on enterprise and mesh 802.11 networks. We will approach the
topic from a systems perspective, generally focusing on the MAC layer
and above, although we will begin with a brief overview of the physical
link characteristics. We will consider a
number of proposed mechanisms for routing, forwarding, and end-to-end
packet transport, in addition to techniques to improve the performance,
reliability, and energy savings.
No EE background or previous wireless coursework is required, although
general networking knowledge is expected.