University of Oulu

Evaluating medium access control protocols for wireless sensor networks

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Author: Haapola, Jussi1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering
2University of Oulu, Centre for Wireless Communications
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2010
Publish Date: 2010-02-09
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology of the University of Oulu for public defence in OP-sali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on 19 February 2010, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Riku Jäntti
Professor Michele Zorzi


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) offer us a potential for greater awareness of our surroundings, collecting, measuring, and aggregating parameters beyond our current abilities, and provide an opportunity to enrich our experience through context-awareness. As a typical sensor node is small with limited processing power, memory, and energy resources, in particular, these WSNs must be very energy-efficient for practical deployment. Medium access control (MAC) protocols are central to the energy-efficiency objective of WSNs, as they directly control the most energy consuming part of a sensor node: communications over the shared medium.

This thesis focuses on evaluating MAC protocols within the WSN domain by, firstly, surveying a representative number of MAC protocols and their features. Secondly, three novel MAC protocols are proposed, one for layered contention-based access, one for layered scheduled access, and one for cross-layer contention-based access. Thirdly, a novel energy consumption model is proposed, and fourthly, a holistic MAC protocol evaluation model is proposed that takes into account application emphasis on performance metrics. The MAC protocols are evaluated analytically. In addition, the layered contention-based MAC protocol has been implemented and measured, and the cross-layer contention-based protocol operating over an impulse radio-ultra wideband (IR-UWB) physical layer has been verified by simulations with relevant physical layer characteristics. The energy consumption evaluation model proposed is straightforward to modify for evaluating delay, and it can reuse state transition probabilities derived from throughput analysis. The holistic application-driven MAC protocol evaluation model uses a novel single compound metric that represents a MAC protocol's relative performance in a given application scenario.

The evaluations have revealed several significant flaws in sensor MAC protocols that are adapted to sensor networking from ad hoc networks. Furthermore, it has been shown that, when taking sufficient details into account, single hop communications can outperform multi-hop communications in the energy perspective within the feasible transmission ranges provided by sensor nodes. The impulse radio physical layer introduces characteristics to MAC protocols that invalidate traditional techniques which model the physical layer in terms of simple collisions. Hence, these physical layer characteristics have been modelled and included in the analysis, which improves the level of agreements with simulated results.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 978-951-42-6115-2
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6114-5
Issue: 350
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.