MAC Protocols for Multimedia Data over HFC Architecture
Supporting multimedia services and real-time communications in broadcast networks brings new challenges in the design of MAC protocols, specially in those network architectures that are restricted to a contention based physical medium. The Media Access Protocol (MAC) has to be flexible enough in order to immediately adjust to new incoming events. Three main mechanisms control this flexibility: Connection admission control, Priority mechanism and Scheduling discipline. This study concentrates on the integration of the basic MAC protocol with a priority mechanism and a scheduling discipline. Moreover, the new emerging HFC (Hybrid Fiber/Coax) architecture is taken as the basis for the study. The main challenge related to the priority scheme is the Contention Resolution Algorithm (CRA). The tradeoff simplicity versus reactive time leads to the design of the scheduling discipline.