Researchers Turn to Game Theory to Boost Throughput in Shared Wi-Fi Access Points

Delivering a small but measurable boost in multi-user networks, this new approach to handling access points targets smart cities and more.

Researchers at Japan's Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) and Nagoya University have come up with a new approach to improving the throughput of shared Wi-Fi wireless access points (WAPs) — by approaching the problem from the perspective of game theory.

"For wireless communication environments where multiple users exist and must be considered, game theory is one of the most suitable theories to use for analysis," claims Sumiko Miyata, associate professor at SIT and co-author of the paper. "In the approach proposed in our paper, the user position that maximizes system throughput is determined using what’s known as a 'potential game,' which is a type of model in game theory."

The team's approach aims to resolve the issue with the IEEE 802.11 family of wireless communication standards: that bandwidth is shared between all users, and if one user has a particularly slow connection all the other users connected to the same access point experience degraded speeds. The solution: a model based on game theory, designed to maximize throughput.

The team's connection strategy aims to condense the incentives for all users into a single function, which can be used to determine the impact of the position of each new users as they join the network. By taking the possibility of interference between users into account, based on the probability of packet collisions, the team's approach can deliver a small but measurable boost in overall throughput — up to around six percent, in testing.

"Our method could be a potential option for Wi-Fi services in classrooms and libraries due to their location-free characteristics and low human traffic," Miyata explains. "The Wi-Fi system would calculate the optimal user positions based on their locations to enhance overall throughput and encourage them to take cooperative action, motivated by a desire to increase their own throughput as well.

"AP system[s] should be efficient regarding the use of their network resources. The proposed technique is an important technology for realizing smart cities, where everything is connected to the internet."

The team's work has been published in the IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society under open-access terms.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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