The project develops mechanisms for reliable communications over wireless mesh networks, which have recently emerged as a promising solution for providing last-mile Internet access. Such networks operate at the edge of the Internet and consist of wireless routers that provide a backbone over which users can access the Internet. While wired networks are highly dependable, wireless networks are notoriously unreliable due to interference, obstructions, jamming, and mobility. The goal of this project is to develop mechanisms for reliable communications in this challenging environment. In particular, the project adapts some of the techniques that have been successfully used to provide reliability in wired networks to the wireless environment. An important aspect of this research is the design of protection and restoration mechanisms that are tightly integrated with the wireless transmission medium, and take into account interference affects. These mechanisms include protection along preplanned backup paths, diversity routing along multiple paths, and spare capacity allocation for providing reliability guarantees. Methods from stochastic network control will be used to develop autonomous restoration algorithms, and techniques from the field of robust optimization will be used to design reliable network architectures.
This project develops mechanisms for making wireless networks reliable, and thus, tightly integrated with the wired Internet. Such mechanisms will help increase Internet access to locations worldwide lacking in communication infrastructure. The results will be widely disseminated through publication in conferences, journals and the web. The broader impacts include training of graduate and undergraduate students and technology transfer to industry and government laboratories.