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This paper introduces an energy-efficient Rate Adaptive MAC (RA-MAC) protocol for long-lived Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). Previous research shows that the dynamic and lossy nature of wireless communication is one of the major challenges to reliable data delivery in a WSN. RA-MAC achieves high link reliability in such situations by dynamically trading off radio bit rate for signal processing gain. This extra gain reduces the packet loss rate which results in lower energy expenditure by reducing the number of retransmissions. RA-MAC selects the optimal data rate based on channel conditions with the aim of minimizing energy consumption.
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