Predictable 802.11 Packet Delivery From Wireless Channel Measurements

Daniel Halperin, Wenjun Hu, Anmol Sheth, and David Wetherall
Appears in: 
CCR October 2010

RSSI is known to be a fickle indicator of whether a wireless link will work, for many reasons. This greatly complicates operation because it requires testing and adaptation to find the best rate, transmit power or other parameter that is tuned to boost performance. We show that, for the first time, wireless packet delivery can be accurately predicted for commodity 802.11 NICs from only the channel measurements that they provide. Our model uses 802.11n Channel State Information measurements as input to an OFDM receiver model we develop by using the concept of effective SNR. It is simple, easy to deploy, broadly useful, and accurate. It makes packet delivery predictions for 802.11a/g SISO rates and 802.11n MIMO rates, plus choices of transmit power and antennas. We report testbed experiments that show narrow transition regions (