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Low power and small footprint IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee based devices are a promising alternative to 802.11a/b/g and proprietary protocols for noncritical patient monitoring under important scenarios such as post-op and emergency rooms. However, their use in a healthcare facility to monitor several mobile patients poses several difficulties, mainly because these protocols were primarily designed to operate in low traffic load scenarios. This paper presents simulation results used to evaluate the performance of an IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee based Wireless Sensors Network (WSN) in a vital signs monitoring scenario, for both star and tree based network topologies. The scalability problem in non-beacon enabled networks is addressed to quantify the degradation in Quality of Service (QoS) markers when the number of sensor nodes increase.
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