A multifrequency MAC specially designed for wireless sensor network applications

Gang Zhou, Yafeng Wu, Ting Yan, Tian He, Chengdu Huang, John A. Stankovic, Tarek F. Abdelzaher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multifrequency media access control has been well understood in general wireless ad hoc networks, while in wireless sensor networks, researchers still focus on single frequency solutions. In wireless sensor networks, each device is typically equipped with a single radio transceiver and applications adopt much smaller packet sizes compared to those in general wireless ad hoc networks. Hence, the multifrequency MAC protocols proposed for general wireless ad hoc networks are not suitable for wireless sensor network applications, which we further demonstrate through our simulation experiments. In this article, we propose MMSN, which takes advantage of multifrequency availability while, at the same time, takes into consideration the restrictions of wireless sensor networks. In MMSN, four frequency assignment options are provided to meet different application requirements. A scalable media access is designed with efficient broadcast support. Also, an optimal nonuniform back-off algorithm is derived and its lightweight approximation is implemented in MMSN, which significantly reduces congestion in the time synchronized media access design. Through extensive experiments, MMSN exhibits the prominent ability to utilize parallel transmissions among neighboring nodes. When multiple physical frequencies are available, it also achieves increased energy efficiency, demonstrating the ability to work against radio interference and the tolerance to a wide range of measured time synchronization errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalTransactions on Embedded Computing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Media access control
  • Multi-channel
  • Radio interference
  • Time synchronization
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'A multifrequency MAC specially designed for wireless sensor network applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this