Effect of packet size on loss rate and delay in wireless links

Jari Korhonen*, Ye Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Transmitting large packets over wireless networks helps to reduce header overhead, but may have adverse effect on loss rate due to corruptions in a radio link. Packet loss in lower layers, however, is typically hidden from the upper protocol layers by link or MAC layer protocols. For this reason, errors in the physical layer are observed by the application as higher variance in end-to-end delay rather than increased packet loss rate. In this paper, we study the effect of packet size on loss rate and delay characteristics in a wireless real-time application. We derive analytical model for the dependency between packet length and delay characteristics. We validate our theoretical analysis through experiments in an ad hoc network using WLAN technologies. We show that careful design of packetization schemes in the application layer may significantly improve radio link resource utilization in delay sensitive media streaming under difficult wireless network conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberNET17-4
Pages (from-to)1608-1613
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, WCNC
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event2005 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, WCNC 2005: Broadband Wirelss for the Masses - Ready for Take-off - New Orleans, LA, United States
Duration: 13 Mar 200517 Mar 2005


  • Digital wireless channel
  • Packet error model
  • Packet-switched wireless networking
  • Wireless multimedia streaming


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