Open Access Research

Avoiding collisions between IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.15.4 through coexistence aware clear channel assessment

Lieven Tytgat1*, Opher Yaron1, Sofie Pollin2, Ingrid Moerman1 and Piet Demeester1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Information Technology - IBCN, Ghent University - IBBT, Gaston Crommenlaan 8 (Bus 201), 9050 Gent, Belgium

2 IMEC, Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

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EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 2012, 2012:137  doi:10.1186/1687-1499-2012-137

Published: 10 April 2012


More and more devices are becoming wirelessly connected. Many of these devices are operating in crowded unlicensed bands, where different wireless technologies compete for the same spectrum. A typical example is the unlicensed ISM band at 2.4 GHz, which is used by IEEE 802.11bgn, IEEE 802.15.4, and IEEE 802.15.1, among others. Each of these technologies implements appropriate Media Access Control (MAC) mechanisms to avoid packet collisions and optimize Quality of Service. Although different technologies use similar MAC mechanisms, they are not always compatible. For example, all CSMA/CA-based technologies use Clear Channel Assessment (CCA) to detect when the channel is free; however, in each case it is specifically designed to improve detection reliability of the specific technology. Unfortunately, this approach decreases the detection probability of other technologies, increasing the amount of cross-technology collisions. In this article, we introduce the concept of coexistence aware CCA (CACCA), which enables a node operating in one technology to backoff for other coexisting technologies as well. As a proof of concept, we analyze the Packet Error Rate(PER) incurred by an IEEE 802.15.4 network in the presence of IEEE 802.11bg interference, and assess the PER reduction that is achieved by using CACCA.

IEEE 802.15.4; IEEE 802.11; coexistence; clear channel assessment (CCA); coexistence aware clear channel assessment