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A Survey of MAC Protocols for Mission-Critical Applications in Wireless Sensor Networks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalCommunications Surveys & Tutorials, IEEE
Journal number2
Volume14
Number of pages25
Pages1-25
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are generally designed to support applications in long-term deployments, and thus WSN protocols are primarily designed to be energy efficient. However, the research community has recently explored new WSN applications such as industrial process automation. These mission-critical applications demand not only energy efficient operation but also strict data transport performance. In particular, data must be transported to a sink in a timely and reliable fashion. Both WSN's data transport performance and energy consumption pattern are mainly defined by the employed medium access control (MAC) protocol. Therefore, this survey paper explores to what extent existing MAC protocols for WSNs can serve mission-critical applications. The reviewed protocols are classified according to data transport performance and suitability for mission-critical applications. The survey reveals that the existing solutions have a number of limitations and only a few recently developed MAC protocols are suitable for this application domain.