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International Journal of Engineering Sciences, 2(8) August 2013, Pages: 427-434

TI Journals
ISSN
2306-6474

International Journal of Engineering Sciences


www.tijournals.com

Experimental Investigation of Throughput Performance of IEEE


802.11g OFDM based Systems in a Campus Environment
Joseph Isabona *1, Olayinka A.Samson 2
1,2

Department of Basic Sciences, Benson Idahosa University, PMB 1100, Benin City, Nigeria.

AR TIC LE INF O

AB S TR AC T

Keywords:

In recent years, most Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) are based on the IEEE 802.11b, 802.11a,
802.11g or 802.11n standards. These standards define how to wirelessly connect computers or devices to
a network. Wireless enabled devices can send and receive data anywhere within the range of a wireless
access point. The choice of the Wireless LAN protocol depends on the requirements of the individuals or
a company who aims to implement the WLAN infrastructure. Some of the parameters that should be
considered in selecting an appropriate WLAN working protocol are data communications speed and
range. In this paper, an experimental investigation of the impact of packet data communication on IEEE
802.11g OFDM based systems for throughput performance evaluation was conducted on the campus of
Benson Idahosa University. The results at different routes show a very interesting feature that the
throughput is not susceptible to be affected by change in distance between the Aps and the measurement
locations. This may indicates that the data communication links are able to support the required
bandwidth and there are no network failures. It also shows that that the packet drop rate on the
communication links is low. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the WLAN system with
OFDM interface can effectively use multipath component because of guard period incorporated in the
system.

Throughput Performance
Packet data
IEEE 802.11g OFDM based Systems

2013 Int. j. eng. sci. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

1.

Introduction

The world of wireless telecommunications is fast evolving. Technologies under research and development promise to deliver more services
to more users in less time. The Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technologies are growing fast with new emerging standards being
developed. WLAN technologies have been leading the Internet distribution in education, business and home environments. 802.11 is a set
of WLAN standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and are mainly used for local wireless
communications in the 2.4 and 5 GHz unlicensed frequency bands [1].
802.11 standards consist of physical layer and media access control (MAC) protocols. Since its first release, there are a number of major
additions and amendments to the physical layer whilst the basic functions of MAC remain largely unchanged. Many 802.11 standards have
been developed over the years to address various aspects of WLAN requirements and are nicely summarized in [2] by Hiert and co. WLAN
devices often advertise their capabilities based on the implemented physical layer version. The popular ones include 802.11b, 802.11a,
802.11g and more recently 802.11n (see table for details).
Table 1. Comparison of IEEE 802.11 physical layer standards
Release
Date

Standard

Band
(GHz)

Bandwidth
(MHz)

Modulation

Advanced Antenna
Technologies

Max Data
Rate

1997

802.11

2.4

20

DSSS, FHSS

N/A

2 Mbps

1999

802.11b

2.4

20

DSSS

N/A

11 Mbps

1999

802.11a

20

OFDM

N/A

54 Mbps

2003

802.11g

2.4, 5

20

DSSS, OFDM

N/A

54 Mbps

2009

802.11n

2.4

20, 40

OFDM

MIMO, up to 4 spatial Streams

600 Mbps

2013 (exp)

802.11ac

40, 80, 160

OFDM

MIMO, MU-MIM, up to 8
spatial streams

6.93 Mbps

IEEE 802.11g is based on the orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation technique and the CCK modulation for
backward compatibility with 802.11b. The OFDM physical layer (PHY) provides the capability to transmit data frames at multiple rates up
to 54 Mbps for WLAN networks where transmission of multimedia content is a consideration [3].
* Corresponding author.
Email address: josabone@yahoo.com

428

Isabona Joseph and Olayinka A.Samson


Int ernational Journal of Engi neering Sc iences, 2(8) Au gust 2013

While wireless networking is classified according to its standards- based signaling rate, such as 54 Mbps for 802.11g, the actual data
throughput, or data being transmitted, is often just a fraction of the theoretical maximum rate. Research conducted by [4] showed that the
user throughput performance changes radically when access points or clients are located near an interfering transmitter or when frequency
planning is not carefully conducted. Data throughput can also be limited due to a number of important environmental and product-specific
factors. Therefore, even though the new 802.11g products available are capable of a 54 Mbps signaling rate, the practical, or actual, data
throughput is more likely to be much less than that (in the 10 12 Mbps range). There are few papers that discuss the performance of the
802.11b standards such as in [5, 6], and to the best of our knowledge, there is no work in the literature that discusses the throughput
performance of 802.11g WLANs in small campus environments.
In this paper, we present a full scale experimental study of throughput performance of IEEE 802.11g, with OFDM interface deployed in
Benson Idahosa University (BIU). Our focus is on evaluation of success rate of packet data communication at the end user application-level
in the studied outdoor WLAN propagation environment.

2.

Materials and methods

2.1 Description of the study area


The scope of this study is limited to the Benson Idahosa University (BIU) campus located in GRA Benin City; the university campus
covers an area approximately six square-kilometer of plane land. The majority of its area has a significant green-space with a lot of trees
and other vegetation more than what is supposed to be in the average urban area. The access points (APs) used in this study is herein
referenced with respect to which campus building they were mounted on, namely Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences (FBAS) Wi-Fi and
University Library Wi-Fi. These Aps were chosen because of availability of their hardware specifications, configuration and service
availability.
2.2 Radio Frequency Site Survey
A radio frequency (RF) site survey is one of the first steps carried out before or after the deployment of a Wireless network. According to
[7], it is the most important step to ensure desired wireless network operation. A site survey is a task-by-task process by which the surveyor
studies the facility to understand the RF behavior, investigate the user data throughput performance, checks for RF interference and
determines the appropriate placement of Wireless devices. There is no substitute for measuring real-world network performance, only onsite measurements and surveys can give the complete picture. RF site survey is conducted using surveying tools that enable data to be
collected from a base station or an access point, example of such data is the user throughput at the application level.
2.3 Surveying Tools
In surveying, generally wireless sniffing tools are used to sniff wireless packets from an infrastructure network setup using an access point.
The software and hardware equipment used in this study are presented with their specification.
1. Software:
Microsoft windows 7 ultimate
2. Hardware Equipment and Specifications
(a) Laptop
Vendor: emachine
Model: TravelMate 2420
CPU: 1.5GHz
Memory: 512MB
Wireless Card: D-Link DWA-125
(b) IEEE 802.11b/g Access Point
Vendor: Mikrotik
Model: 133C
Transmitter Power 1W
Frequency Range: 2.4GHz to 2.4835GHz
(c) External Antenna:
Vendor: HyperGain
Model: HG2412U
Type: Omnidirectional
Gain: 12dBi
Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz to 2.5GHz.
Polarization: Vertical.
(d) 30-foot measuring tape.

Experimental Investigation of Throughput Performance of IEEE 802.11g OFDM based Systems in a Campus Environment

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Internat ional Jour nal of Engineeri ng Science s, 2(8) Au gust 2013

2.4 Data Collection Methods


An emachine laptop equipped with a wireless D-link card, running on Microsoft windows7 platform installed was used to collect Packet
sent and packet received data over time from the selected APs at different locations on the BIU Campus. Two (02) APs were selected on
Campus at different locations; the selected Aps were from the same vendor and had the same technical specifications and operate using
IEEE 802.11 g standard. At each AP, a straight path was mark-out at different directions from the AP to the mobile receiver (laptop) to
cover for both main and side loops of the radiating antenna. On each of these paths, test points were manually measured at a 10m about
113m interval using a measuring tape.
2.5 Precautions Taken During Data Collection
The following precautions were taken to minimize errors during the data collection:
Data was collected during lecture hours (between 9 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm) from Monday to Friday, were most students
were having lectures; this is to minimize attenuation due to movement of people and vehicles.
The laptop has an internal antenna located behind the screen, so the screen of the laptop was oriented toward the zenith sky in
order to increase the likelihood that the direct-rays signal path falls within the half-power beamwidth of the antenna.
2.6 Performance Metric
In wireless data communication systems, throughput is one of the foremost performance metrics. It is what the user perceives as a devices
performance as he uses it in everyday ways. Throughput is the transmission capability that is available to applications after the overhead
required to address the needs of upper layer protocols has been addressed. By description, throughput is a subset of a devices physical
layer data rate (data rate). Data rate is an expression of a devices raw transmission capability at the lowest, physical layer. It is an essential
contributor to device performance, but an end user will not experience performance equivalent to a devices data rate. As an end user
indicator, it expresses the average rate of successful data transmissions over the overall propagation channel. Specifically, throughput
which is indicated by Thr, in equation (1) is measure of number of packets successfully delivered in a network. It is measured in terms of
packets/second [7]:

Thr

3.

PacketDeliverd

(1)

i PacketArrival PacketStarttime

Results and analysis

Shown in figure 1-11 are graphs of data throughput performance measured at different measurement locations. As can be observed from the
graphs, the throughput performance at different routes shows a very interesting feature that the throughput is not susceptible to be affected
by change in distance between the Aps and the measurement locations. This indicates that the data communication links are able to support
the required bandwidth and there are no network failures. It also shows that that the packet drop rate on the packet data communication
links is low. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the Wifi system with OFDM interface can effectively use multipath
component because of guard period incorporated in the system.

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

30

25

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput (Mb/s)

25

20

15

10

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

30

20

15

10

5
5

20

40

60

Distance(m)

80

100

120

Figure 1. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance in the


Morning for route 1

0
0

20

40

Distance(m)

60

80

100

Figure 2. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance in the


Morning for route 2

Isabona Joseph and Olayinka A.Samson

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Int ernational Journal of Engi neering Sc iences, 2(8) Au gust 2013

28

25

26
24
22

23

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

22
21
20

20

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

24

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

18
16
14
12

19
18
17
16
15
14
13

10

12
8

11
10

4
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

20

40

60

80

100

120

Distance(m)

Distance(m)

Figure 3. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance


in the afternoon for route 1

Figure 4. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance


in the afternoon for route 2

25
24

24
23

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

22
21

20

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13

week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4

22

18
16
14
12

12
10

11
10

9
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

20

60

80

100

Figure 6. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance


in the Evening for route 2

Figure 5. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput Performance


in the Evening for route 1

13

20

week 1
week 2

12

week 1
week 2

18

11

16

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

40

Distance(m)

Distance(m)

10
9
8

14
12
10

8
6

6
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Distance(m)

Figure 7. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Morning for route 1

90

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

Distance(m)

Figure 8. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Morning for route 2

80

90

Experimental Investigation of Throughput Performance of IEEE 802.11g OFDM based Systems in a Campus Environment

431

Internat ional Jour nal of Engineeri ng Science s, 2(8) Au gust 2013

40

40
35

week 1
week 2

week 1
week 2

30

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

35
30
25
20

25

20

15

15
10

10
5
10

5
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

Distance(m)

90

Distance(m)

Figure 10. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Afternoon for route 2

Figure 9. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Afternoon for route 1

week 1
week 2

45

35

40

30

35

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

40

25
20
15

week 1
week 2

30
25
20
15

10

10

0
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Distance(m)

Figure 11. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Evening for route 1

90

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

Distance(m)

Figure 12. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput Performance


in the Evening for route 2

Here, the data throughput performances at different periods of the day are presented graphically for comparison. For each week,
(throughput vs distance) for morning, afternoon, and evening periods were evaluated for comparison as displayed in figure 15 to 26. As can
be realized from the figures above, a relatively steady throughput performance can be observed at the different period of the day even as the
distance between the server and the Aps measurement location s increases. The steady throughput of 802.11g comes through two pathways.
Several features in 802.11g increase data rate in the physical layer, with some proportion of that effect visible in throughput steady
performance. 802.11g also includes innovations that reduce overhead and improve efficiency of transmissions directly contributing to
steady throughput. This is in addition to the fact earlier stressed, that the Wifi system with OFDM interface can effectively use multipath
component because of guard period incorporated in the system. 802.11g Wifi also includes innovations that reduce overhead and improve
efficiency of transmissions directly contributing to steady throughput.

Isabona Joseph and Olayinka A.Samson

432

Int ernational Journal of Engi neering Sc iences, 2(8) Au gust 2013

week 1 (morning)
week 1 (afternoon)
week 1 (evening)

20

28
26

18

24

Signal Strenght(dBm)

Throughput(dBm)

16

14

12

10

22

week 2 (morning)
week 2 (afternoon)
week 2 (evening)

20
18
16
14
12
10

8
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Distance(m)

20

40

60

80

100

120

Distance(m)

Figure 13. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 1, route 1

Figure 14. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 2, route 1

25
30

week 3(morning)
week 3(afternoon)
week 3(evening)

25

Throughput(dBm)

Throughput(dBm)

20

15

10

week 4(morning)
week 4(afternoon)
week 4(evening)

20

15

10

20

40

60

80

100

120

20

Figure 15. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 3, route 1

40

60

80

100

120

Distance(m)

distance(m)

Figure 16. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 4, route 1

20

28
26

18

week 1 morning
week 1 afternoon
week 1 evening

22

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

16

24

14

12

10

week 2 (morning)
week 2 (afternoon)
week 2 (Evening)

20
18
16
14
12
10

8
0

20

40

60

80

100

Distance(m)

Figure 17. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 1, route 2

20

40

60

80

100

Distance(m)

Figure 18. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 2, route 2

Experimental Investigation of Throughput Performance of IEEE 802.11g OFDM based Systems in a Campus Environment

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Internat ional Jour nal of Engineeri ng Science s, 2(8) Au gust 2013

35
30

week 3 (morning)
week 3 (afternoon)
week 3 (evening)

30

25

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

25

20

15

10

week 4 morning
week 4 afternoon
week 4 evening

20

15

10

5
5

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

20

40

Figure 19. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 3, route 2

7.2

80

100

Figure 20. Wifi BIU FBAS, Throughput for Week 4, route 2

week 1(morning)
week 1(afternoon)
week 1(evening)

7.4

60

Distance(m)

Distance(m)

40
35

7.0

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

30
6.8
6.6
6.4
6.2

week 2(morning)
week 2(afternoon)
week 2(evening)

25
20
15
10

6.0

5.8
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

10

Distance(m)

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

Distance(m)

Figure 21. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput for Week 1, route 1

Figure 22. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput for Week 2, route 1

week 1(morning)
week 1(afternoon)
week 1(evening)

9.5

45

9.0
40

8.0

Throughput(Mb/s)

Throughput(Mb/s)

8.5

7.5
7.0
6.5
6.0

week 2(morning)
week 2(afternoon)
week 2(evening)

35

30

25

20

5.5
15

5.0

10

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Distance(m)

Distance(m)

Figure 24. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput for Week 2, route 2


Figure 23. Wifi BIU 7, Throughput for Week 1, route 2

90

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Isabona Joseph and Olayinka A.Samson


Int ernational Journal of Engi neering Sc iences, 2(8) Au gust 2013

4.

Conclusion

In recent years, most Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) are based on the IEEE 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g or 802.11n standards.
These standards define how to wirelessly connect computers or devices to a network. Wireless enabled devices can send and receive data
anywhere within the range of a wireless access point. The choice of the Wireless LAN protocol depends on the requirements of the
individuals or a company who aims to implement the WLAN infrastructure. Some of the parameters that should be considered in selecting
an appropriate WLAN working protocol are data communications speed and range.
The main objective of this study was to carry out an experimental investigation of the impact of packet data communication link of WLAN
based OFMD systems in a campus environment. The results show that data throughput remains relatively stable even as the distance
between the access points and the user measurement location increases. The steady throughput may be attributed to the fact that the Wifi
system with OFDM interface can effectively use multipath component because of guard period incorporated in the system. The steady
throughput performance results may also come through two pathways. Several features in 802.11g increase data rate in the physical layer,
with some proportion of that effect visible in throughput steady performance. 802.11g also includes innovations that reduce overhead and
improve efficiency of transmissions directly contributing to steady throughput.

References
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]

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January, 2010.
Ergen, M IEEE 802.11 TutorialUniversity of California Berkeley, June 2002
Henry, B. E. "Throughput Measurements and Empirical Prediction Models for IEEE 802.11b Wireless LAN (WLAN) Installations" M.Sc. thesis,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, USA, 2001.
Rose, C. Ulukus, S, and Yates. R.D. "Wireless systems and interference avoidance". IEEE Transactions on wireless Communications, pp. 415-428,
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Zahur, Y. Doctor, M. Davari, S. and Andrew Yang, T. "802.11b Performance Evaluation". Proceeding of the 2nd IASTED International Conference
Communications, Internet, and Information Technology, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, 2003.
Ngala, D. K (2012), Studying the Impact of the Environment on Radio Frequency Signal Quality, a case study of Knust Wireless Local Network, M.Sc.
Thesis, College of Engineering, Department of Telecommunication Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.