Selfish MAC Layer Misbehavior in Wireless Networks

Pradeep Kyasanur, Nitin H. Vaidya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols such as IEEE 802.11 use distributed contention resolution mechanism for sharing the wireless channel. In this environment, selfish hosts that fail to adhere to the MAC protocol may obtain an unfair throughput share. For example, IEEE 802.11 requires hosts competing for access to the channel to wait for a “backoff interval, randomly selected from a specified range, before initiating a transmission. Selfish hosts may wait for smaller backoff intervals than well-behaved hosts, thereby obtaining an unfair advantage. We present modifications to the IEEE 802.11 protocol to simplify detectio of such selfish hosts and analyze the optimality of the chosen strategy. We also present a penalty scheme for punishing selfish misbehavior. We develop two misbehavior models to capture the behavior of misbehaving hosts. Simulation results under these misbehavior models indicate that our detection and penalty schemes are successful in handling MAC layer misbehavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-516
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Wireless communication
  • network monitoring
  • network-level security and protection
  • public networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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