Battling Latency in Modern Wireless Networks

Buffer sizing has a tremendous effect on the performance of Wi-Fi based networks. Choosing the right buffer size is challenging due to the dynamic nature of the wireless environment. Over buffering or `bufferbloat’ may produce unacceptable end-to-end delays. On the other hand, small buffers may limit the performance gains that can be obtained with various IEEE 802.11n/ac enhancements, such as frame aggregation. We propose wireless queue management (WQM), a novel, practical, and lightweight queue management scheme for wireless networks. WQM adapts the buffer size based on the wireless link characteristics and the network load. Furthermore, it accounts for aggregates length when deciding on the optimal buffer size. We evaluate WQM using our 10 nodes wireless testbed. WQM reduces the end-toend delay by an order of magnitude compared to the default buffer size in Linux while achieving similar network throughput. Also, WQM outperforms state of the art bufferbloat solutions, namely CoDel and PIE. WQM achieves seven times less latency compared to PIE, and two times compared to CoDel at the cost of 8% drop in goodput in the worst case. Further, WQM improves network fairness as it limits the ability of a single flow to saturate the buffers.

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