Multi-channel Medium Access Control Protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks: A Survey


Extensive researches on Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have been performed and many techniques have been developed for the data link (MAC) layer. Most of them assume single-channel MAC protocols. In the usual dense deployment of the sensor networks, single-channel MAC protocols may be deficient because of radio collisions and limited bandwidth. Hence, using multiple channels can significantly improve the performance of WSN. Recent developments in sensor technology, as seen in Crossbow’s MICAz Mote, Rockwell’s WINS nodes and IEEE 802.15.4 Zigbee, have enabled support for multi-channel communications. Several multi-channel MAC protocols with different objectives have been proposed for WSNs in literature. This paper surveys and classifies the state-of-the-art multichannel MAC protocols that are proposed for WSNs. It first outlines the sensor network properties that are crucial for designing a MAC protocol. It subsequently reviews the existent challenges to design a good multi-channel MAC protocol for the sensor networks. Then, several multi-channel MAC protocols specifically proposed for the WSNs are inspected in detail and compared with each other. Finally, some open issues in this area are outlined for future research.