A Performance Comparison of Energy Efficient MAC Protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks
With the increasing research in sensor networks in recent years, new application domains such as tactical, environmental and medical have evolved. To match the need of those applications, sensor networks require specific protocol solutions. Researchers, over the recent past, have proposed various communication protocols for sensor networks. Among other layers, MAC (Medium Access Control) poses challenges to provide techniques able to reduce the energy consumption, maximize the throughput and improve latency in addition to arbitrate the access to the shared medium. Some of these goals may be conflicting and may require trade-offs. In this paper, we review IEEE 802.11 which is a contention-based protocol, TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) as a schedule-based method and SMAC, Adaptive SMAC and ZMAC which are hybrid approaches targeted at high traffic wireless sensor networks. Later on, the performances of these protocols are discussed. Our comparison is conducted from the energy property, the latency and the throughput perspective; then, we explore the introduced trade-offs. Furthermore, we outline the characteristics of the studied protocols and we evaluate the relative merit of each.
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