Queue-based random-access algorithms: Fluid limits and stability issues

J. Ghaderi, S.C. Borst, P.A. Whiting

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


We use fluid limits to explore the (in)stability properties of wireless networks with queue-based random-access algorithms. Queue-based random-access schemes are simple and inherently distributed in nature, yet provide the capability to match the optimal throughput performance of centralized scheduling mechanisms in a wide range of scenarios. Unfortunately, the type of activation rules for which throughput optimality has been established, may result in excessive queue lengths and delays. The use of more aggressive/persistent access schemes can improve the delay performance, but does not offer any universal maximum-stability guarantees. In order to gain qualitative insight and investigate the (in)stability properties of more aggressive/persistent activation rules, we examine fluid limits where the dynamics are scaled in space and time. In some situations, the fluid limits have smooth deterministic features and maximum stability is maintained, while in other scenarios they exhibit random oscillatory characteristics, giving rise to major technical challenges. In the latter regime, more aggressive access schemes continue to provide maximum stability in some networks, but may cause instability in others. Simulation experiments are conducted to illustrate and validate the analytical results.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

Volume1302.5945 [cs.NI]


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