CSMA algorithms have recently received a significant amount of interest in the literature for designing efficient wireless control algorithms. CSMA algorithms are attractive because they incur low computation complexity and communication overhead, and can be shown to achieve the optimal capacity under certain assumptions. However, it has also been observed that CSMA algorithms suffer the starvation problem and incur large delay that may grow exponentially with the network size. In this paper, we propose a new algorithm, called Virtual-Multi-Channel (VMC-) CSMA, that can dramatically reduce delay without sacrificing the high capacity and low complexity of CSMA. The key idea of VMC-CSMA to avoid the starvation problem is to use multiple virtual channels to emulate a multi-channel system and compute a good set of feasible schedules simultaneously (without constantly switching/re-computing schedules). Under the protocol interference model and a single-hop utility-maximization setting, our proposed VMC-CSMA algorithm can approach arbitrarily close to the optimal total system utility, with both the number of virtual channels and the computation complexity increasing logarithmically with the network size. The VMC-CSMA algorithm inherits the distributed nature of CSMA algorithms. Further, once our algorithm converges to the steady-state, the expected packet delay for each link equals to the inverse of its long-term average rate, and the distribution of its head-of-line (HOL) waiting time can also be asymptotically bounded. Our simulation results confirm that the proposed VMC-CSMA algorithm indeed achieves both high throughput and low delay. Further, it can quickly adapt to network traffic changes.
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