With the emergence of 5G networks and the stringent Quality of Service (QoS) requirements of Mission-Critical Applications (MCAs), co-existing networks are expected to deliver higher-speed connections, enhanced reliability, and lower latency. IEEE 802.11 networks, which co-exist with 5G, continue to be the access choice for indoor networks. However, traditional IEEE 802.11 networks lack sufficient reliability and they have non-deterministic latency. To dynamically control resources in IEEE 802.11 networks, in this paper we propose a delay-aware approach for Medium Access Control (MAC) management via airtime-based network slicing and traffic shaping, as well as user association while using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). To fulfill the QoS requirements, we use Software-Defined Networking (SDN) for airtime-based network slicing and seamless handovers at the Software-Defined Radio Access Network (SD-RAN), while traffic shaping is done at the Stations (STAs). In addition to throughput, channel utilization, and signal strength, our approach monitors the queueing delay at the Access Points (APs) and uses it for centralized network management. We evaluate our approach in a testbed composed of APs controlled by SD-RAN and SDN controllers, with STAs under different workload combinations. Our results show that, in addition to load balancing flows across APs, our approach avoids the ping-pong effect while enhancing the QoS delivery at runtime. Under varying traffic demands, our approach maintains the queueing delay requirements of 5 ms for most of the experiment run, hence drawing closer to MCA requirements.
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