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J Med Syst. 2012 Jun;36(3):1021-30. doi: 10.1007/s10916-010-9564-2. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

An ultra low-power and traffic-adaptive medium access control protocol for wireless body area network.

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  • 1Graduate School of IT and Telecommunication Engineering, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea.


Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) consists of low-power, miniaturized, and autonomous wireless sensor nodes that enable physicians to remotely monitor vital signs of patients and provide real-time feedback with medical diagnosis and consultations. It is the most reliable and cheaper way to take care of patients suffering from chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Some of the most important attributes of WBAN is low-power consumption and delay. This can be achieved by introducing flexible duty cycling techniques on the energy constraint sensor nodes. Stated otherwise, low duty cycle nodes should not receive frequent synchronization and control packets if they have no data to send/receive. In this paper, we introduce a Traffic-adaptive MAC protocol (TaMAC) by taking into account the traffic information of the sensor nodes. The protocol dynamically adjusts the duty cycle of the sensor nodes according to their traffic-patterns, thus solving the idle listening and overhearing problems. The traffic-patterns of all sensor nodes are organized and maintained by the coordinator. The TaMAC protocol is supported by a wakeup radio that is used to accommodate emergency and on-demand events in a reliable manner. The wakeup radio uses a separate control channel along with the data channel and therefore it has considerably low power consumption requirements. Analytical expressions are derived to analyze and compare the performance of the TaMAC protocol with the well-known beacon-enabled IEEE 802.15.4 MAC, WiseMAC, and SMAC protocols. The analytical derivations are further validated by simulation results. It is shown that the TaMAC protocol outperforms all other protocols in terms of power consumption and delay.

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