Fairness and load balancing in wireless LANs using association control

Yigal Bejerano, Seung Jae Han, Li Li

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

282 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies on operational wireless LANs (WLANs) have shown that user load is often unevenly distributed among wireless access points (APs). This unbalanced load results in unfair bandwidth allocation among users. We observe that the unbalanced load and unfair bandwidth allocation can be greatly alleviated by intelligently associating users to APs, termed association control, rather than having users greedily associate APs of best received signal strength. In this study, we present an efficient algorithmic solution to determine the user-AP associations that ensure max-min fair bandwidth allocation. We provide a rigorous formulation of the association control problem that considers band-width constraints of both the wireless and backhaul links. Our formulation indicates the strong correlation between fairness and load balancing, which enables us to use load balancing techniques for obtaining near optimal max-min fair bandwidth allocation. Since this problem is NP-hard, we present algorithms that achieve a constant-factor approximate max-min fair bandwidth allocation. First, we calculate a fractional load balancing solution, where users can be associated with multiple APs simultaneously. This solution guarantees the fairest bandwidth allocation in terms of max-min fairness. Then, by utilizing a rounding method we obtain an efficient integral association. In particular, we provide a 2-approximation algorithm for unweighted greedy users and a 3-approximation algorithm for weighted and bounded-demand users. In addition to bandwidth fairness, we also consider time fairness and we show it can be solved optimally. We further extend our schemes for the on-line case where users may join and leave. Our simulations demonstrate that the proposed algorithms achieve close to optimal load balancing and max-min fairness and they outperform commonly used heuristic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventMobiCom 2004 - Proceedings of the Tenth Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking - Philadelphia, PA, United States
Duration: 2004 Sep 262004 Oct 1


OtherMobiCom 2004 - Proceedings of the Tenth Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia, PA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)


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