Recently, polling has been included as a resource sharing mechanism in the Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol of several communication systems, such as the IEEE 802.11 wireless local area network, primarily to support realtime traffic. Furthermore, to allow these communication systems to support multimedia traffic, the polling scheme often coexists with other MAC schemes such as random access. Motivated by these systems, we develop a model for a polling system with vacations, where the vacations represent the time periods in which the resource sharing mechanism used is a non-polling mode. The real-time traffic served by the polling mode in our study is telephony. We use an ON-OFF Markov Modulated Fluid (MMF) model to characterize telephony sources. Our analytical study and a counterpart validating simulation study show the following. Since voice codec rates are much smaller than link transmission rates, the queueing delay that arises from waiting for a poll dominates the total delay experienced by a voice packet. To keep delays low, the number of telephone calls that can be admitted must be chosen carefully according to delay tolerance, loss tolerance, codec rates, protocol overheads and the amount of bandwidth allocated to the polling mode. The effect of statistical multiplexing gain obtained by exploiting the ON-OFF characteristics of telephony traffic is more noticeable when the impact of polling overhead is small
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