Keynote 2: Wednesday August 29, 2012

Wireless Mesh Networks: Research vs. Reality








Raouf Boutaba



University of Waterloo




The world has become increasing wireless - new technologies, increased use, more coverage, better service. Wireless service availability is now an expectation (and an inconvenience when it is not available).
Areas without (or with inadequate) wireless access are increasingly rare or remote, although actual service is still variable. Although widerange "broadband" data services are now available, they are still expensive as current networks cannot support widespread (popular) use.
Local WLANs provide the other end of the spectrum - low cost and often good quality service, but short range and deployed in a rather "ad hoc" fashion. Wireless mesh networks are one approach for bridging this gap. They aim to provide an easy and inexpensive way to deploy widespread "WLAN-like" services - all the advantages of WLANs, over a much wider (and more coherent) deployment. The nature of the WMN approach has allowed 1 Gateway networks to be realized very quickly, largely relying on simple, intuitive solutions, using existing technologies from other fields. Of particular interest here are the 802.11 WLAN interface, and ad hoc network protocols. In many ways, WMNs were the realization of MANET research, the practical application
(by limiting some of the technical challenges). Initial successes have occurred both within academia (research networks and testbeds), and industry (commercial products and deployments). It has been a hot topic, an active research area for several years, with many different issues and aspects being investigated. A huge number of improvements (architectures, protocols, etc.) have been proposed. The concept of a mesh has been/is being included in multiple wireless standards.
However, experience from this work (both research and industry) has raised some serious questions regarding the performance and
scalability of WMNs as a solution for general access services. As a result of these concerns, we feel that there is a key question to be asked... Can WMNs deliver sucient service to meet their envisioned uses? We ask this question, not only in the present tense, (as it is quite clear that they cannot at the current time), but also in terms of the future - can they, will they ever reach this level, or are their fundamental limitations. We believe that the answer to this question should guide the direction of future research, and will be the focus of this talk.



Prof. Boutaba Biography:
Raouf Boutaba is a professor of computer science at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and a distinguished visiting professor at POSTECH (South Korea). He served as a distinguished speaker of the IEEE Communications Society and the IEEE Computer Society. He is the founding chair of the IEEE Communications Society Technical Committee on Autonomic Communications, and the founding Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management (2007-2010). He is currently on the advisory editorial board of the Journal of Network and Systems Management, and on the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, the IEEE Communication Surveys and Tutorials, the KICS/IEEE Journal of Communications and Networks, the
International Journal on Network Management (ACM/Wiley), the Wireless Communications and Mobile  Computing (Wiley) and the Journal on Internet Services and Applications (Springer). His research interests include resource and service management in networked systems. He has published extensively in these areas and received several journal and conference best paper awards such as the IEEE 2008 Fred W. Ellersick Prize Paper Award, the 2001 KICS/IEEE  Journal on Communications and Networks Best Paper Award, the IM 2007 and 2009 and the CNSM 2010 Best Paper Awards among others. He also received several recognitions such
as the Premier's Research Excellence Award, two Nortel research
excellence Awards, a fellowship of the Faculty of Mathematics, a David R. Cheriton faculty fellowship, 2 outstanding performance awards at Waterloo and the NSERC discovery accelerator award. He has also received the IEEE Communications Society Hal Sobol Award and the IFIP Silver Core in 2007, the IEEE Communications Society Joe LociCero award and the IFIP/IEEE Dan Stokesbury award in 2009. He is a Fellow of the IEEE..