A Depth-optimal Low-complexity Distributed Wireless Multicast Algorithm

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COMPUTER JOURNAL, vol.54, no.6, pp.988-1003, 2011 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/comjnl/bxr023
  • Journal Name: COMPUTER JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.988-1003


This paper presents a wireless multicast tree construction algorithm, SWIM (Source-initiated WIreless Multicast). SWIM constructs a tree on which each multicast destination has the minimum possible depth (number of hops from the nearest source). It is proved that SWIM is fully distributed, with a worst case complexity upper-bounded by O(N-3), and an empirically found average complexity of only O(N-2). SWIM forms one shared tree from source(s) to the multicast destinations; yet, as a by-product, it creates a multicast mesh structure by maintaining alternative branches at every tree node, thus providing robustness to link failures. This makes it suitable for both ad hoc networks and access networks with multiple gateways. In terms of minimizing the number of forwarding nodes, SWIM is optimal for unicast and competitive with the state of the art for multicast, outperforming the best known distributed approaches from the literature except for the multicast ad hoc on demand distance vector (MAODV) algorithm. However, simulations of the MAODV algorithm alongside SWIM on a large set of network instances show that the depth minimality of SWIM leads to lower average delay per multicast destination. It is also shown that the delay performance of SWIM is virtually unaffected by the presence of low mobility in the network.