MobiSys 2004: Second International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, June, 2004, Boston, USA
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DOMINO: A System to Detect Greedy Behavior in IEEE 802.11 Hotspots

Maxim Raya, Jean-Pierre Hubaux, and Imad Aad, EPFL

The proliferation of hotspots based on IEEE 802.11 wireless LANs brings the promise of seamless Internet access from a large number of public locations. However, as the number of users soars, so does the risk of possible misbehavior; to protect themselves, wireless ISPs already make use of a number of security mechanisms, and require mobile stations to authenticate themselves at the Access Points (APs). However, IEEE 802.11 works properly only if the stations also respect the MAC protocol. We show in this paper that a greedy user can substantially increase his share of bandwidth, at the expense of the other users, by slightly modifying the driver of his network adapter. We explain how easily this can be performed, in particular with the new generation of adapters. We then present DOMINO (System for Detection Of greedy behavior in the MAC layer of IEEE 802.11 public NetwOrks), a piece of software to be installed in the Access Point. DOMINO can detect and identify greedy stations, without requiring any modification of the standard protocol at the AP and without revealing its own presence. We illustrate these concepts by simulation results and by the description of our prototype.