Physical Implementation of Synchronous Duty-Cycling MAC Protocols: Experiences and Evaluation

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Energy consumption and network latency are important issues in wireless sensor networks. The mechanism duty cycling is generally used in wireless sensor networks for avoiding energy consumption due to idle listening. Duty cycling, however, also introduces additional latency in communication among sensors. Some protocols have been proposed to work in wireless sensor networks with duty cycling, such as S-MAC and DW-MAC. Those protocols also tried to make efficient channel utilization and to mitigate the chance of packet collision and the network latency increase resulting from collision. DW-MAC was also designed to tolerate bursty and high traffic loads without increasing energy consumption, by spreading packet transmission and node wakeup times during a cycle.

Some performance comparison between S-MAC and DW-MAC has been done in previous work; however, this comparison was performed in the ns-2 simulator only. In the real world, there are further issues not considered or discussed in the simulation, and some of those issues contribute significant influences to the MAC protocol performance. In this work, I implemented both S-MAC and DW-MAC physically on MICAz sensor motes and compared their performance through experiments. Through my implementation, experiments, and performance evaluation, hardware properties and issues that were not addressed in the previous work are presented, and their impacts on the performance are shown and discussed. I also simulated S-MAC and DW-MAC on ns-2 to give a mutual validation of the experimental results and my interpretation of the results. The experiences of physical implementations presented in this work can contribute new information and insights for helping in future MAC protocol design and implementation in wireless sensor networks.

Master of Science
Wireless sensor networks, Duty cycle, MAC, Synchronous, TinyOS, DW-MAC

Xiao, Wei-Cheng. "Physical Implementation of Synchronous Duty-Cycling MAC Protocols: Experiences and Evaluation." (2013) Master’s Thesis, Rice University.

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