Station Grouping Strategy for Minimizing Association Delay in IEEE 802.11ah

Pranesh STHAPIT  Jae-Young PYUN  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E100-B   No.8   pp.1419-1427
Publication Date: 2017/08/01
Publicized: 2017/01/24
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.2016EBP3306
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Network
IEEE 802.11ah,  association,  channel contention,  optimum group size,  

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IEEE 802.11ah is an emerging wireless LAN standard in the sub-1-GHz license-exempt bands for cost-effective and range-extended communication. One of the most challenging issues that need to be overcome in relation to IEEE 802.11ah is to ensure that thousands of stations are able to associate efficiently with a single access point. During network initialization, several thousand stations try to associate with the access point, leading to heavy channel contention and long association delay. Therefore, IEEE 802.11ah has introduced an authentication control mechanism that classifies stations into groups and only a small number of stations in a group are allowed to access the medium in a beacon interval. This grouping strategy provides fair channel access to a large number of stations. However, the approach to grouping the stations and determining the best group size is undefined in the draft of IEEE 802.11ah. In this paper, we first model the authentication/association in IEEE 802.11ah. Our analysis shows that there exists the best group size that results in minimal association delay. Consequently, the analytical model is extended to determine the best group size. Finally, an enhanced authentication control algorithm, which utilizes the best group size to provide the minimum association delay, is proposed. The numerical and the simulation results we obtained with the proposed method demonstrate that our method succeeds in minimizing the association delay.