Cross-layer design for the transmission of multimedia traffic over fading channels.
Providing guarantees in the Quality of Service (QoS) has become essential to the transmission of multimedia traffic over wireless links with fading channels. However this poses significant challenges due to the variable nature of such channels and the diverse QoS requirements of different applications including voice, video and data. The benefits of dynamic adaptation to system and channel conditions have been accepted, but the true potential of optimized adaptation is lost if the layers operate independently, ignoring possible interdependencies between them. Cross-layer design mechanisms exploit such interdependencies to provide QoS guarantees for the transmission of multimedia traffic over fading channels. Channel adaptive M-QAM schemes are examples of some of the earliest works in the area of cross-layer design. However, many of the original schemes use the assumption that thresholds designed for AWGN channels can be directly applied to slow-fading channels. The thresholds are calculated with a commonly used approximation bit error rate (BER) expression and the first objective of the thesis was to study the accuracy of this commonly used expression in fading channels. It is shown that that the inaccuracy of the expression makes it unsuitable for use in the calculation of the threshold points for an adaptive M-QAM system over fading channels. An alternative BER expression is then derived which is shown to be far more accurate than the previous one. The improved accuracy is verified through simulations of the system over Nakagami-m fading channels. Many of the cross-layer adaptation mechanisms that address the QoS provisioning problem only use the lower layers (physical and data link) and few explore the possibility of using higher layers. As a result, restrictions are placed on the system which introduces functional limitations such as the inability to insert more than one class of traffic in a physical layer frame. The second objective in this thesis was to design a physical and application layer cross-layer adaptation mechanism which overcomes this limitation. The performance results of the scheme in both AWGN and fading channels show that the cross-layer mechanism can be efficiently utilized for the purposes of providing error rate QoS guarantees for multimedia traffic transmissions over wireless links.