17Network Information Theory

Information theory has made a significant contribution to the development of communication theory and practice. This is especially true in the domain of physical layer including channel capacity issues, coding, and modulation. Only recently, information theory made a comparable mark in the field of communication networks, that is today the center of activity and attention in most information technology areas. The principal reason for this is twofold. First, by focusing on the classical point to point, source channel destination model of communication, information theory has ignored the bursty nature of real sources. In advanced networks, source burstiness is the central phenomenon that underlies the process of resource sharing for communication. Second, by focusing on the asymptotic limits of the tradeoff between accuracy and rate of communication, information theory ignored the role of delay as a parameter that may affect this tradeoff. In networking, delay is a fundamental quantity, not only as a performance measure, but also as a parameter that may control and affect the fundamental limits of the rate-accuracy tradeoff.

A comprehensive survey of information theory contributions to the study of different network layers is given in Ref. [1]. In this chapter we discuss the transport capacity of wireless networks based on concepts presented in Ref. [2, 3].

17.1 Capacity of Ad Hoc Networks

In an ad hoc network, it is supposed that n nodes are located ...

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