Trading Structure for Randomness in Wireless Opportunistic Routing

By: 
Szymon Chachulski, Michael Jennings, Sachin Katti, and Dina Katabi
Appears in: 
CCR October 2007

Opportunistic routing is a recent technique that achieves high throughput in the face of lossy wireless links. The current opportunistic routing protocol, ExOR, ties the MAC with routing, imposing a strict schedule on routers’ access to the medium. Although the scheduler delivers opportunistic gains, it misses some of the inherent features of the 802.11 MAC. For example, it prevents spatial reuse and thus may underutilize the wireless medium. It also eliminates the layering abstraction, making the protocol less amenable to extensions to alternate traffic types such as multicast.

This paper presents MORE, a MAC-independent opportunistic routing protocol. MORE randomly mixes packets before forwarding them. This randomness ensures that routers that hear the same transmission do not forward the same packets. Thus, MORE needs no special scheduler to coordinate routers and can run directly on top of 802.11. Experimental results from a 20-node wireless testbed show that MORE’s median unicast throughput is 22% higher than ExOR, and the gains rise to 45% over ExOR when there is a chance of spatial reuse. For multicast, MORE’s gains increase with the number of destinations, and are 35-200% greater than ExOR.