Low Power Listening in BAN: Experimental Characterisation

Low Power Listening in BAN: Experimental Characterisation

Stefan Mijovic (DEI, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy), Andrea Stajkic (DEI, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy), Riccardo Cavallari (DEI, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy) and Chiara Buratti (DEI, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijehmc.2014100104
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Abstract

This paper presents an implementation of a Low Power Listening-based (LPL) Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol on a platform for Body Area Network (BAN) applications. LPL exploits the transmission of a burst of short packets, called preambles, to synchronize the transmitter and the receiver. In this way, devices are able to spend most of the time in sleeping mode, providing longer lifetime and energy saving. Experiments on the field have been conducted by considering different scenarios and results, in terms of average energy consumed per packet transmitted/received, packet loss rate, average delay and network throughput, have been investigated. Conclusions regarding the proper parameters setting depending on the application requirements were derived. This work has been performed in the framework of the FP7 Integrated Project, WiserBAN.
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Introduction

The increasing use of wireless networks and the constant miniaturisation of electrical devices have empowered the development of Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) (Latr´e, 2011). WBANs are composed of wearable and implantable sensors and/or actuators, capable of communicating among them and with external devices through radio interfaces, to monitor physiological signals collected from a human body. A WBAN can be defined as a collection of low-power, miniaturized, invasive or noninvasive, lightweight devices with wireless communication capabilities that operate in the proximity of a human body (Ullah, 2012).

On one hand, WBANs enable new applications and thus new possible markets with respect to Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs) and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs); on the other hand, the design is affected by several constraints that call for new paradigms and protocols. With respect to WSNs, the presence of the human body affects the radio wave propagation, leading to a specific and peculiar radio channel, which has to be properly accounted for in the design of the protocols (Boulis, 2012). The diversity of envisioned applications, which span from the medical field (vital signs monitoring, automatic drug delivery) to the entertainment, gaming and ambient intelligence sectors, creates a set of technical requirements with a wide variation in terms of expected performance metrics (e.g., throughput or delay). Therefore, scalable and flexible architectures and protocols are needed.

This work is dedicated to the design, implementation and verification of a Low Power Listening (LPL) Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol, with the aim of developing an energy-efficient and reliable protocol that will provide the reliable communication while satisfying application constraints. The protocol was designed and then implemented on a platform primarily meant for BANs.

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