Idle-Slot Recycling in a Collision-Free Real-Time MAC Protocol

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Executive Summary

In Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), timeliness is one of the most challenging problems for critical applications. Caccamo et al. designed a collision-free real-time MAC protocol for sensor networks by adopting the "Cellular structure" in traditional telecommunication networks. They assumed that sensors are organized into many rigid hexagon cells and a router node is at the center of each cell to transmit inter-cell packets. By exploiting FDMA and TDMA, transmission collisions are avoided and real-time guarantees are provided. However, the authors observe that for inter-cell communication, idle-slots caused by the TDMA-based scheduling will degrade the throughput and delay performance of the entire network, especially for some real applications in which data flows have traffic-direction partiality characteristics.

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