Smart association control in wireless mobile environment using max-flow

Sourav Kumar Dandapat, Bivas Mitra, Romit Roy Choudhury, Niloy Ganguly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


WiFi clients must associate to a specific Access Point (AP) to communicate over the Internet. Current association methods are based on maximum Received Signal Strength Index (RSSI) implying that a client associates to the strongest AP around it. This is a simple scheme that has performed well in purely distributed settings. Modern wireless networks, however, are increasingly being connected by a wired backbone. The backbone allows for out-of-band communication among APs, opening up opportunities for improved protocol design. This paper takes advantage of this opportunity through a coordinated client association scheme where APs consider a global view of the network, and decide on the optimal client-AP association. We show that such an association outperforms RSSI based schemes in several scenarios, while remaining practical and scalable for wide-scale deployment. We also show that optimal association is a NP-Hard problem and our max-flow based heuristic is a promising solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6094145
Pages (from-to)73-86
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Load balancing
  • association control
  • fairness
  • max-flow
  • wireless Internet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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