Improving information freshness via backbone-assisted cooperative access points

Haoyuan PAN, Yu ZHOU, Tse Tin David CHAN, Ming TANG, Jianqiang LI, Zhihua DU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Information freshness, characterized by age of information (AoI), is important for sensor applications involving timely status updates. In many cases, the wireless signals from one sensor can be received by multiple access points (APs). This paper investigates the average AoI for cooperative APs, in which they can share information through a wired backbone network. We first study a basic backbone-assisted COoperative AP (Co-AP) system where APs share only decoded packets. Experimental results on software-defined radios (SDR) indicate that Co-AP significantly improves the average AoI performance over a single-AP system. Next, we investigate an improved Co-AP system, called Soft-Co-AP. In addition to sharing decoded packets, Soft-Co-AP shares and collects soft information of packets that the APs fail to decode for further joint decoding. A critical issue in Soft-Co-AP is determining the number of quantization bits that represent the soft information (each soft bit) shared over the backbone. While more quantization bits per soft bit improves the joint decoding performance, it leads to higher backbone delay. We experimentally study the average AoI of Soft-Co-AP by evaluating the tradeoff between the backbone delay and the number of quantization bits. SDR experiments show that when the number of sensors is large, Soft-Co-AP further reduces the average AoI by 12% compared with Co-AP. Interestingly, good average AoI performance is usually achieved when the number of quantization bits per soft bit is neither too large nor too small. Copyright © 2022 IEEE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4592-4604
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number5
Early online dateNov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


Pan, H., Zhou, Y., Chan, T.-T., Tang, M., Li, J., & Du, Z. (2023). Improving information freshness via backbone-assisted cooperative access points. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 10(5), 4592-4604. doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2022.3218948


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