Efficient cluster mobility support for TDMA-based MAC protocols in wireless sensor networks

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Node mobility is a key feature of using Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) in many sensory applications, such as healthcare. The Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol should properly support the mobility in the network. In particular, mobility is complicated for contention-free protocols like Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA). An efficient access to the shared medium is scheduled based on the node's local neighborhood. This neighborhood may vary over time due to node movement or other dynamics. In scenarios including body-area networking, for instance, some clusters of nodes move together, creating further challenges but also opportunities. This article presents a MAC protocol, MCMAC, that provides efficient support for cluster mobility in TDMA-based MAC protocols in WSNs. The proposed protocol exploits a hybrid contention-free and contention-based communication approach to support cluster mobility. This relieves the protocol from rescheduling demand due to frequent node movements. Moreover, we propose a listening scheduling mechanism to avoid idle listening to mobile nodes that leads to a considerable energy saving for sensor nodes. The protocol is validated by performing several experiments in a real-world large-scale deployment including several mobile clusters. The protocol is also evaluated by extensive simulation of networks with various scales and configurations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Pages (from-to)65-1/32
Number of pages32
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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