Infoscience

Conference paper

EMPoWER Hybrid Networks: Exploiting Multiple Paths over Wireless and ElectRical Mediums

Several technologies, such as WiFi, Ethernet and power-line communications (PLC), can be used to build residential and enterprise networks. These technologies often co-exist; most networks use WiFi, and buildings are readily equipped with electrical wires that can offer a capacity up to 1 Gbps with PLC. Yet, current networks do not exploit this rich diversity and often operate far below the available capacity. We design, implement, and evaluate EMPoWER, a system that exploits simultaneously several potentially-interfering mediums. It operates at layer 2.5, between the MAC and IP layers, and combines routing (to find multiple concurrent routes) and congestion control (to efficiently balance traffic across the routes). To optimize resource utilization and robustness, both components exploit the heterogeneous nature of the network. They are fair and efficient, and they operate only within the local area network, without affecting remote Internet hosts. We demonstrate the performance gains of EMPoWER, by simulations and experiments on a 22-node testbed. We show that PLC/WiFi, benefiting from the diversity offered by wireless and electrical mediums, provides significant throughput gains (up to 10x) and improves coverage, compared to multi-channel WiFi.

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