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This paper addresses deafness - a problem that appears when MAC protocols are designed using directional antennas. Briefly, deafness is caused when a transmitter fails to communicate to its intended receiver, because the receiver is beam formed towards a direction away from the transmitter. Existing CSMA/CA protocols rely on the assumption that congestion is the predominant cause of communication failure, and adopt backoff schemes to handle congestion. While this may be appropriate for omnidirectional antennas, for directional antennas, both deafness and congestion can be the reason for communication failures. An appropriate directional MAC protocol needs to classify the actual cause of failure, and react accordingly.
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