Skip to main content
Log in

A backoff algorithm based on self-adaptive contention window update factor for IEEE 802.11 DCF

Wireless Networks Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article


The binary exponential backoff (BEB) mechanism is applied to the packet retransmission in lots of wireless network protocols including IEEE 802.11 and 802.15.4. In distributed dynamic network environments, the fixed contention window (CW) updating factor of BEB mechanism can’t adapt to the variety of network size properly, resulting in serious collisions. To solve this problem, this paper proposes a backoff algorithm based on self-adaptive contention window update factor for IEEE 802.11 DCF. In WLANs, this proposed backoff algorithm can greatly enhance the throughput by setting the optimal CW updating factor according to the theoretical analysis. When the number of active nodes varies, an intelligent scheme can adaptively adjust the CW updating factor to achieve the maximal throughput during run time. As a result, it effectively reduces the number of collisions, improves the channel utilization and retains the advantages of the binary exponential back-off algorithm, such as simplicity and zero cost. In IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function (DCF) protocol, the numerical analysis of physical layer parameters show that the new backoff algorithm performance is much better than BEB, MIMD and MMS algorithm.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Wang, X.-F., Vasilakos, A. V., Chen, M., et al. (2012). A survey of green mobile networks: Opportunities and challenges. ACM/Springer Mobile Networks and Applications, 17(1), 4–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Vasilakos, A. V., Zhang, Y., & Spyropoulos, T. (2012). Delay tolerant networks: Protocols and applications. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Zhang, H.-J., Chu, X.-L., Guo, W.-S., & Wang, S.-Y. (2013). Coexistence of Wi-Fi and heterogeneous small cell networks sharing unlicensed spectrum. IEEE Communications Magazine, 53(3), 158–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Zhang, H.-J., Jiang, C.-X., Cheng, J.-L., & Leung, V. C. M. (2015). Cooperative interference mitigation and handover management for heterogeneous cloud small cell networks. IEEE Wireless Communications, 22(3), 92–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Wang, X.-F., Chen, M., Zhu, H., et al. (2014). TOSS: Traffic offloading by social network service-based opportunistic sharing in mobile social networks. In The 33rd annual IEEE international conference on computer communications, pp. 2346–2354.

  6. Wang, X.-F., Chen, M., Taleb, T., et al. (2014). Cache in the air: Exploiting content caching and delivery techniques for 5G systems. IEEE Communication Magazine, 52(2), 131–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. IEEE Std 802.11. (2007). Wireless LAN medium access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) specifications. Part 11. New York: IEEE Press.

  8. Kwak, B.-J., Song, N.-O., & Miller, M. E. (2005). Performance analysis of exponential backoff. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 13(2), 343–355.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Liu, Y.-L., Pu, J.-H., Fang, W.-W., et al. (2012). A MAC layer optimization algorithm in wireless sensor network. Chinese Journal of Computer, 35(3), 529–539.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Sun, X.-H., & Lin, D. (2015). Backoff design for IEEE 802.11 DCF networks: Fundamental tradeoff and design criterion. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 23(1), 300–316.

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  11. Pang, Q.-X., Liew, S. C., et al. (2004). Performance evaluation of an adaptive backoff scheme for WLAN. Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing, 4(8), 867–879.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. He, Y., Sun, J., Ma, X.-J., Vasilakos, A. V., et al. (2013). Semi-random backoff: Towards resource reservation for channel access in wireless LANs. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 21(1), 204–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Wu, H. T., Cheng, S. D., Peng, Y., et al. (2002). IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function (DCF): Analysis and enhancement. In IEEE international conference on communications (ICC), pp. 605–609.

  14. Ni, Q., Aad, I., Turletti, T., et al. (2003). Modeling and analysis of slow CW decrease IEEE 802.11 WLAN. In 14th IEEE proceedings on personal, indoor and mobile radio communications, (PIMRC), pp. 1717–1721.

  15. Song, N.-O., Kwak, B.-J., Song, J., et al. (2003). Enhancement of IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function with exponential increase exponential decrease backoff algorithm. In 57th IEEE semiannual vehicular technology conference (VTC), pp. 2775–2778.

  16. Cali, F., Conti, M., & Gregori, E. (2000). Dynamic tuning of the IEEE 802.11 protocol to achieve a theoretical throughput limit. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 8(6), 785–799.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Shurman, M., Al-Shua’b, B., Alsaedeen, M., et al. (2014). N-BEB: New backoff algorithm for IEEE 802.11 MAC protocol. In 37th International convention on information and communication technology, electronics and microelectronics (MIPRO), pp. 540–544.

  18. Krishnan, M. N., Yang, S.-O., & Zakhor, A. (2014). Contention window adaptation using the busy-idle signal in 802.11 WLANs. In 2014 IEEE global communications conference (GLOBECOM), pp. 4794–4800.

  19. Mao, J.-B., Mao, Y.-M., Leng, S.-P., et al. (2009). Performance analysis of multi-channel MAC schemes based on 802.11. Journal of Computer Research and Development, 46(10), 1651–1659.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Wang, G., Zhong, X.-F., Mei, S.-L., et al. (2011). A new constrained-send mechanism to enhance the performance of IEEE 802.11 DCF. In 6th international ICST conference on communications and networking in China (CHINACOM), pp. 448–452.

  21. Sheng, Z.-G., Mahapatra, C., Zhu, C.-S., & Leung, V. C. M. (2015). Recent advances in industrial wireless sensor networks toward efficient management in IoT. IEEE Accesss, 3, 622–637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Li, M., Li, Z.-J., & Vasilakos, A. V. (2013). A survey on topology control in wireless sensor networks, taxonomy, comparative study, and open issues. Proceedings of the IEEE, 101(12), 2538–2557.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Han, K., Luo, J., Liu, Y., & Vasilakos, A. V. (2013). Algorithm design for data communications in duty-cycled wireless sensor networks: A survey. IEEE Communications Magazine, 51(7), 107–113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Zhang, C.-S., & Min, J. (2014). Research of adaptive aggregation algorithm to balance delay and accuracy. Application Research of Computers, 31(11), 3422–3425.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gou, H., & Yoo, Y. (2012). An energy efficient MAC protocol based on IEEE 802.11 DCF for wireless sensor networks in port logistics. In IEEE 9th international conference on embedded software and systems (HPCC-ICESS), pp. 728–733.

  26. Bianchi, G. (2000). Performance analysis of the IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, 18(3), 535–547.

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant: 51174263), Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (Grant: 20124116120004) and Henan Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (Grant: 142300410144).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Changsen Zhang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, C., Chen, P., Ren, J. et al. A backoff algorithm based on self-adaptive contention window update factor for IEEE 802.11 DCF. Wireless Netw 23, 749–758 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: