This paper applies network coding to wireless mesh networks and presents the first implementation results. It introduces COPE, an opportunistic approach to network coding, where each node snoops on the medium, learns the status of its neighbors, detects coding opportunities, and codes as long as the recipients can decode. This flexible design allows COPE to efficiently support multiple unicast flows, even when traffic demands are unknown and bursty, and the senders and receivers are dynamic. We evaluate COPE using both emulation and testbed implementation. Our results show that COPE substantially improves the network throughput, and as the number of flows and the contention level increases, COPE’s throughput becomes many times higher than current 802.11 mesh networks.
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