Overview on Multi-Channel Communications in Wireless Sensor Networks
In this paper, we focus on multi-channel MAC protocols specifically designed for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). The use of multiple channels helps overcome interferences and thus enhance the overall network performance. In order to establish channel and slot allocation to enable simultaneous transmissions, many protocols have been proposed in the literature. Some of them are based on a TDMA approach which offers a more deterministic behavior but requires a strict synchronization, while others are based on CSMA/CA which is an asynchronous medium access algorithm that suffers from collisions due to its probabilistic behavior. Different classifications have been proposed in previous survey papers depending on the periodicity of channel switching, on whether they are centralized or distributed, synchronized or asynchronous, etc. In this paper, we present a survey of the different techniques used in WSNs and that are applicable on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. We detail some of the most popular protocols and discuss their advantages and weaknesses. We conclude the paper with an open discussion concerning future research directions.
Wireless Sensor Networks; Medium Access Control; Multi Channel; IEEE 802.15.4
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