Maximum throughput of multiple access channels in adversarial environments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We consider deterministic distributed broadcasting on multiple access channels in the framework of adversarial queuing. Packets are injected dynamically by an adversary that is constrained by the injection rate and the number of packets that may be injected simultaneously; the latter we call burstiness. A protocol is stable when the number of packets in queues at the stations stays bounded. The maximum injection rate that a protocol can handle in a stable manner is called the throughput of the protocol. We consider adversaries of injection rate 1, that is, of one packet per round, to address the question if the maximum throughput 1 can be achieved, and if so then with what quality of service. We develop a protocol that achieves throughput 1 for any number of stations against leaky-bucket adversaries. The protocol has O2+ packets queued simultaneously at any time, where n is the number of stations; this upper bound is proved to be best possible. A protocol is called fair when each packet is eventually broadcast. We show that no protocol can be both stable and fair for a system of at least two stations against leaky-bucket adversaries. We study in detail small systems of exactly two and three stations against window adversaries to exhibit differences in quality of broadcast among classes of protocols. A protocol is said to have fair latency if the waiting time of packets is O. For two stations, we show that fair latency can be achieved by a full sensing protocol, while there is no stable acknowledgment based protocol. For three stations, we show that fair latency can be achieved by a general protocol, while no full sensing protocol can be stable. Finally, we show that protocols that either are fair or do not have the queue sizes affect the order of transmissions cannot be stable in systems of at least four stations against window adversaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-116
Number of pages24
JournalDistributed Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adversarial queuing
  • Deterministic protocol
  • Distributed broadcasting
  • Multiple access channel
  • Packet latency
  • Stability
  • Throughput

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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