In multiuser MIMO (MU-MIMO) LANs, the achievable throughput of a client depends on who is transmitting concurrently with it. Existing MU-MIMO MAC protocols, however, enable clients to use the traditional 802.11 contention to contend for concurrent transmission opportunities on the uplink. Such a contention-based protocol not only wastes lots of channel time on multiple rounds of contention but also fails to maximally deliver the gain of MU-MIMO because users randomly join concurrent transmissions without considering their channel characteristics. To address such inefficiency, this paper introduces MIMOMate, a leader-contention-based MU-MIMO MAC protocol that matches clients as concurrent transmitters according to their channel characteristics to maximally deliver the MU-MIMO gain while ensuring all users fairly share concurrent transmission opportunities. Furthermore, MIMOMate elects the leader of the matched users to contend for transmission opportunities using traditional 802.11 CSMA/CA. It hence requires only a single contention overhead for concurrent streams and can be compatible with legacy 802.11 devices. A prototype implementation in USRP N200 shows that MIMOMate achieves an average throughput gain of 1.42× and $1.52× over the traditional contention-based protocol for two- and three-antenna AP scenarios, respectively, and also provides fairness for clients.
IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 13(8), 4389-4400