WiMCA: Multi-indicator Client Association in Software-Defined Wi-Fi Networks


In a world with increasing traffic demands, wireless technologies aim to meet them by means of new Radio Access Technologies (RATs) that provide faster connectivity. Such is the case of 4G and 5G. However, in indoor scenarios, where the capabilities of these technologies are significantly affected by the distance to the base station and the materials used in the construction of buildings, Wi-Fi is still the technology of reference thanks to its low cost and easy deployment. In this context, it is usual to find multi-AP Wi-Fi networks whose deployment has been carefully planned. However, the user-AP association decision procedure is not defined by the IEEE 802.11 standard. As a result, vendors choose selfish approaches based on signal strength. This leads to uneven user distributions and nonoptimal resource utilization. To deal with this, densification has been used over the years, but this is expensive as it needs more infrastructure. Moreover, this results in more APs in the same collision domain. To avoid the need for densification, in this paper we introduce WiMCA, a joint SDN-based user association and channel assignment solution for Wi-Fi networks that considers signal strength, channel occupancy and AP load to make better association decisions. Experimental results have demonstrated that, in terms of aggregated goodput, WiMCA outperforms approaches based on signal strength by 55%, providing better user level fairness and accommodating more users and traffic before reaching the point at which densification is needed.

Springer Wireless Networks