Abstract: The IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless networks has been recently enhanced with the IEEE 802.11e amendment which introduces Quality of Service support. It provides differentiation mechanisms at the Medium Access Control layer, using two additional access functions: the Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (EDCA) function and the HCF Controlled Channel Access (HCCA) function. Only the HCCA mechanism is suitable for serving traffic streams with real-time requirements such as multimedia applications and Voice Over IP. The IEEE 802.11e standard does not specify a mandatory HCCA scheduling algorithm, but it offers a reference scheduler as the guideline in the resources scheduling design. In this paper we analyze four HCCA alternative schedulers to the reference one. They offer real-time guarantees proposing different solutions to the request of QoS and real-time support expressed by the increasing diffusion of multimedia applications. Real-Time HCCA (RTH), devised to support Quality of Service (QoS) at the flow level in an IEEE 802.11e network using the Hybrid Coordinator Function (HCF) Controlled Channel Access (HCCA) function. RTH separates online activities which take place at the frame transmission timescale, from offline activities which take place at the flow lifetime timescale. On the other hand, online scheduling is enforced simply by reading the pre-computed schedule, at little or no computational cost. RTH performance is assessed in terms of the admission control limit and of the amount of channel capacity that is left for contention-based access.
Keywords: Wireless Networks, Quality of Services, HCCA algorithm, IEEE 802.11e network.