LAMA/CA: A load-adaptive MAC protocol for short packets

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An efficient Media Access Control (MAC) protocol for wireless Internet access is developed in this study. The proposed access protocol exploits the fact that very often the Internet access messages, such as HTTP download requests, are based on short packets. In addition, whenever the user is able to access to multiple overlapping base stations (e.g., in WiMAX access networks, or in 3GPP cellular networks), the proposed protocol enables the user to select the least loaded base station. Consequently, the user gets a better quality of service, while load balancing is achieved by preferring links that are less loaded over congested links. The key idea is to adjust the access probability to the load on the local link, and to use a different access protocol for short messages. Delay insensitive and long messages are transmitted using a Request To Send (RTS) and Clear To Send (CTS) mechanism, in a similar way to IEEE 802.11, over hops that are able to support this protocol type, while short and delay-sensitive messages are transmitted using another method, that offers a reduced call delivery delay, as well as better channel utilization. Whenever the message length drops below a certain threshold (evaluated in this study), the overhead of transmitting an RTS and CTS messages becomes too large. The analysis in this study shows that this threshold is load-dependent. Whenever the message length drops below this load-dependent threshold, this study proposes to use a protocol which is more efficient for short messages transmissions, such as HTTP download requests, Short Message Service (SMS) messages, and signaling messages. The proposed MAC protocol is especially suitable for 3G and beyond cellular networks. Whenever there are number of channels that can be possibly used to deliver a message, it enables to select the least loaded channel among several channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-651
Number of pages13
JournalMobile Networks and Applications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • MAC
  • radio resource management
  • wireless Internet access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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