Title: A real-time and energy-efficient MAC protocol for wireless sensor networks

Authors: Pardeep Kumar, Mesut Gunes, Qasim Mushtaq, Bastian Blywis

Addresses: Institute of Computer Science, Distributed Embedded Systems, Freie Universitat Berlin, Takustr. 9, D-14195 Berlin, Germany. ' Institute of Computer Science, Distributed Embedded Systems, Freie Universitat Berlin, Takustr. 9, D-14195 Berlin, Germany. ' Institute of Computer Science, Distributed Embedded Systems, Freie Universitat Berlin, Takustr. 9, D-14195 Berlin, Germany. ' Institute of Computer Science, Distributed Embedded Systems, Freie Universitat Berlin, Takustr. 9, D-14195 Berlin, Germany

Abstract: Energy saving has been the primal issue in designing medium access control (MAC) protocols for wireless sensor networks (WSNs). However, with the advent of new micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technologies and recently thermo-powered and solar-powered sensor nodes – where nodes operate virtually for an unlimited time period – the research community is set to experience many diverse directions in this area. Factors like timeliness, scalability, synchronisation, adaptivity and reliability will play their part in the near future. This paper discusses AREA-MAC, a MAC protocol specially designed for real-time and energy-efficient WSN applications. AREA-MAC reduces latency and energy consumption of nodes by using low power listening (LPL) technique with short preamble messages. Other protocols like B-MAC use long preamble messages that cause higher latency, energy consumption and control overhead. Moreover, AREA-MAC provides reasonable trade-offs between vital parameters such as system fairness, throughput, scalability and adaptability to traffic conditions. Additionally, to minimise network latency and to maximise its lifetime, two application-based optimisation problems are formulated. The analytical and simulation results show a better performance of AREA-MAC in terms of delay, energy-efficiency, throughput and overhearing over the protocols which use LPL with long preambles.

Keywords: medium access control; MAC; wireless sensor networks; real time WSNs; energy efficiency; scalability; adaptability; wireless networks; latency; energy consumption.

DOI: 10.1504/IJUWBCS.2009.029002

International Journal of Ultra Wideband Communications and Systems, 2009 Vol.1 No.2, pp.128 - 142

Available online: 20 Oct 2009 *

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