Reliable MAC layer multicast in IEEE 802.11 wireless networks

Min Te Sun, Lifei Huang, Shaoyong Wang, Anish Arora, Ten Hwang Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Multicast/broadcast is an important service primitive in networks. It is supported by all IEEE 802.x standards, including 802.11. The IEEE 802.11 multicast/broadcast protocol is based on the basic access procedure of Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA). This protocol does not provide any media access control (MAC) layer recovery on multicast/ broadcast frames. As a result, the reliability of the multicast/broadcast service is reduced owing to the increased probability of lost frames resulting from interference or collisions. Recently, a few MAC protocols have been proposed to enhance the reliability and the efficiency of the 802.11 multicast/broadcast protocol. In this paper, we observe that these protocols are still unreliable or inefficient. To redress the problems of reliability and efficiency, we propose a reliable Batch Mode Multicast MAC protocol (BMMM), which in most cases reduces the number of contention phases from n to 1, where n is the number of intended receivers in the multicast/broadcast. This considerably reduces the time required for a multicast/broadcast. We then propose a Location Aware Multicast MAC protocol (LAMM), which uses station location information to further improve upon BMMM. Extensive analysis and simulation results validate the reliability and efficiency of our multicast MAC protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-453
Number of pages15
JournalWireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Ad hoc networks
  • Broadcast
  • Medium access control
  • Multicast
  • Wireless LAN


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