Analyzing the MAC-level Behavior of Wireless Networks in the Wild

Ratul Mahajan, Maya Rodrig, David Wetherall, and John Zahorjan


We present Wit, a non-intrusive tool that builds on passive monitoring to analyze the detailed MAC-level behavior of operational wireless networks. Wit uses three processing steps to construct an enhanced trace of system activity. First, a robust merging procedure combines the necessarily incomplete views from multiple, independent monitors into a single, more complete trace of wireless activity. Next, a novel inference engine based on formal language methods reconstructs packets that were not captured by any monitor and determines whether each packet was received by its destination. Finally, Wit derives network performance measures from this enhanced trace; we show how to estimate the number of stations competing for the medium. We assess Wit with a mix of real traces and simulation tests. We find that merging and inference both significantly enhance the originally captured trace. We apply Wit to multi-monitor traces from a live network to show how it facilitates 802.11 MAC analyses that would otherwise be difficult or rely on less accurate heuristics.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inSIGCOMM
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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