Abstract

In recent years, multipath routing, i.e., employing several paths simultaneously, has emerged as an efficient way to provide significant throughput gains in local networks. This has been observed both with technologies that are not subject to interference, such as Ethernet, and with technologies that are, such as WiFi, power-line communications (PLC) and LTE. With technologies that are subject to interference, adding more paths is not always beneficial. We investigate the number of simultaneous paths necessary to reach maximal throughput when using multipath routing in multi-hop mesh networks with several self-interfering technologies. We show analytically, numerically and experimentally that the optimal number of paths M-opt is tightly linked with the number of technologies K. For certain classes of networks (in particular, for typical home networks), we prove analytically that M-opt = K, and our analytical findings are verified both with simulations and with experiments on a testbed composed of PLC and two orthogonal WiFi channels. In general networks, our numerical and experimental results show that the throughput loss caused by using at most K simultaneous paths is very small: The relative loss is smaller than 0.05 in 97% of the networks and smaller than 0.1 in 99% of the networks.

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