Performance Comparison of Cellular and Multi-hop Wireless Networks: A Quantitative Study

Hung-Yun Hsieh and Raghupathy Sivakumar
GNAN Research Group
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

SIGMETRICS 2001, June 18-20, Cambridge, MA, USA


In this paper we study the performance trade-offs between conventional cellular and multi-hop ad-hoc wireless networks. We compare through simulations the performance of the two network models in terms of raw network capacity, end-to-end throughput, end-to-end delay, power consumption, per-node fairness (for throughput, delay, and power), and impact of mobility on the network performance. The simulation results show that while ad-hoc networks perform better in terms of throughput, delay, and power, they suffer from unfairness and poor network performance in the event of mobility.

We discuss the trade-offs involved in the performance of the two network models, identify the specific reasons behind them, and argue that the trade-offs preclude the adoption of either network model as a clear solution for future wireless communication systems. Finally, we present a simple hybrid wireless network model that has the combined advantages of cellular and ad-hoc wireless networks but does not suffer from the disadvantages of either.

Paper: [pdf (155KB)]      Presentation: [pdf (408KB)]