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Congestion Reduction Using a MAC Scheduling Mechanism in a Wireless Sensor Network

Nancy El Rachkidy and Alexandre Guitton
Clermont Universit´e, Universit´e Blaise Pascal, LIMOS, BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France CNRS, UMR 6158, LIMOS, F-63173 Aubi`ere, France
Abstract—In many synchronized MAC protocols for wireless sensor networks such as IEEE 802.15.4 in beaconenabled mode, periods where all the nodes are active alternate with periods where all the nodes are inactive. This approach is used in order to save the energy of nodes as they are powered by small batteries. However, having all nodes active simultaneously can yield to congestion, which increases the packet loss rate and the delay. In this paper, we propose a new MAC scheduling mechanism that distributes the activities of nodes into several periods, thus reducing the number of active nodes during each period. The scheduling is based on the routing information provided by the network layer. We propose an heuristic to compute this schedule, and we derive a protocol with limited overhead. We compare their performance with the performance of IEEE 802.15.4 where all nodes are active simultaneously, as well as with the optimal solution computed using an integer linear program. The simulation results show that our heuristic can greatly improve both packet loss rate and delay in a large variety of scenarios without increasing the energy consumption.

Index Terms—Wireless sensor networks, scheduling, MAC protocols.

Cite: Nancy El Rachkidy and Alexandre Guitton, "Congestion Reduction Using a MAC Scheduling Mechanism in a Wireless Sensor Network," Journal of Communications, vol. 9, no. 10, pp. 751-761, 2014. Doi: 10.12720/jcm.9.10.751-761
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