Legacy IEEE 802.11 Medium Access Control (MAC) adopts the Distributed Coordination Function (DCF) mechanism, which provides the same access opportunity for all contenders. However, in dense multi-rate Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs), the pure distributed control mechanism will cause high collision rate and performance anomaly, which results in low network utilization and wasting valuable channel resources. In this paper, we present a decoupling MAC mechanism (DMAC) based on the idea of contention/reservation to reduce collision and realize collision free data transmission. In proposed mechanism, the channel access time is partitioned into channel contention process and data transmission process. The proposed algorithm makes full use of the distributed random channel access mechanism and performs a centralized collision-free data transmission. Wherein, we also design an adaptive algorithm to adjust the length of the contention period to improve the channel utilization. Furthermore, we further propose two airtime fairness algorithms Improve-DMAC1 (I-DMAC1) and Improve-DMAC2 (I-DMAC2) for delay sensitive network and high throughput network scenarios, respectively, to solve the performance anomaly in multi-rate WLANs, based on DMAC. We verify the effectiveness of these decoupling algorithms through extensive simulations. Moreover, the simulation results show that the proposed algorithms achieve better performance than the 802.11 standard and other protocols.
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