Faculty Advisor

Craig E. Wills

Faculty Advisor

Andrew G. Klein

Faculty Advisor

Xinming Huang

Faculty Advisor

Wenjing Lou


Multi-hop wireless networks have been widely considered as promising approaches to provide more convenient Internet access for their easy deployment, extended coverage, and low deployment cost. However, providing high-speed and reliable services in these networks is challenging due to the unreliable wireless links, broadcast nature of wireless transmissions, and frequent topology changes. On the other hand, network coding (NC) is a technique that could significantly improve the network throughput and the transmission reliability by allowing intermediate nodes to combine received packets. More recently proposed symbol level network coding (SLNC), which combines packets at smaller symbol scale, is a more powerful technique to mitigate the impact of lossy links and packet collisions in wireless networks. NC, especially SLNC, is thus a particular effective approach to providing higher data rate and better transmission reliability for applications such as mobile content distribution in multihop wireless networks. This dissertation focuses on exploiting NC in multihop wireless networks. We studied the unique features of NC and designed a suite of distributed and localized algorithms and protocols for content distribution networks using NC and SLNC. We also carried out a theoretical study on the network capacity and performance bounds achievable by SLNC in mobile wireless networks. We proposed CodeOn and CodePlay for popular content distribution and live multimedia streaming (LMS) in vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs), respectively, where many important practical factors are taken into consideration, including vehicle distribution, mobility pattern, channel fading and packet collision. Specifically, CodeOn is a novel push based popular content distribution scheme based on SLNC, where contents are actively broadcast to vehicles from road side access points and further distributed among vehicles using a cooperative VANET. In order to fully enjoy the benefits of SLNC, we proposed a suite of techniques to maximize the downloading rate, including a prioritized and localized relay selection mechanism where the selection criteria is based on the usefulness of contents possessed by vehicles, and a lightweight medium access protocol that naturally exploits the abundant concurrent transmission opportunities. CodePlay is designed for LMS applicaitions in VANETs, which could fully take advantage of SLNC through a coordinated local push mechanism. Streaming contents are actively disseminated from dedicated sources to interested vehicles via local coordination of distributively selected relays, each of which will ensure smooth playback for vehicles nearby. CodeOn pursues a single objective of maximizing downloading rate, while CodePlay improves the performance of LMS service in terms of streaming rate, service delivery delay, and bandwidth efficiency simultaneously. CodeOn and CodePlay are among the first works that exploit the features of SLNC to simplify the protocol design whilst achieving better performance. We also developed an analytical framework to compute the expected achievable throughput of mobile content distribution in VANETs using SLNC. We presented a general analytical model for the expected achievable throughput of SLNC in a static wireless network based on flow network theory and queuing theory. Then we further developed the model to derive the expected achievable accumulated throughput of a vehicle driving through the area of interest under a mobility pattern. Our proposed framework captures the effects of multiple practical factors, including vehicle distribution and mobility pattern, channel fading and packet collision, and we characterized the impacts of those factors on the expected achievable throughput. The results from this research are not only of interest from theoretical perspective but also provide insights and guidelines on protocol design in SLNC-based networks.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





vehicular ad hoc networks, content distribution, network coding, wireless network