What is it about?

In wireless sensor networks (WSNs), Medium Access Control (MAC) envisages to create rules for sharing the wireless radio interface by creating simple rules that facilitate the fair access to resources by different competing wireless nodes, with different sensors (e.g., temperature, humidity, pressure), in the context of the developing Internet of Everything. As energy saving is crucial to prolong the sensor motes life, novel techniques, as acknowledging the reception of frames in block (block acknowlegment) or the use of short frames to avoid the hidden or exposed terminal problems, very common in contention MAC sub-layer protocols. This work explores these new techniques while comparing them with the standard solutions appllied in IEEE 802.15.4, the standard that is the basis of Zigbee, the Industrial Alliance for the 802.15.4 family of WSN products.

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Why is it important?

Exploring the usage of block acknowledgement and short Ready To Send (RTS) and Clear To Send (CTS) frames to enhance the delay and throughput performance of the IEEE 802.15 family of protocols whilst reducing energy consumption is timely, and may be an ooportunity, if the IEEE P802.15 Wireless Next Generation Standing Committee (SCwng) considers this line of solutions, whose advantages are being demonstrated in the context of this work, for the non-beacon mode of IEEE 802.15.4, to be included in future discussions and possible versions of the standards.


Energy saving techniques are essential for the success of the Internet of Things, and exploring MAC sub-layer protocols that will optimize their spectral efficiency and explore the usage of the shared medium towards spectrum sensing (for opportunistic radio), allowing for shared spectrum solutions, will make the difference in wireless networking research. Including radiofrequency energy harvesting capabilities that explore the intrinsic characteristics of the new ways to enhance spectrum usage, e.g., in the framework of Wearable and Wireless Body Sensor Networks solutions will be one of the most rewarding paths to be explored in near future Wireless Sensor Network research.

Fernando Velez
Universidade da Beira Interior

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This page is a summary of: Performance enhancement of IEEE 802.15.4 by employing RTS/CTS and frame concatenation, IET Wireless Sensor Systems, September 2020, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (the IET), DOI: 10.1049/iet-wss.2019.0003.
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