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Open Access Research

PluralisMAC: a generic multi-MAC framework for heterogeneous, multiservice wireless networks, applied to smart containers

Pieter De Mil*, Peter Ruckebusch, Jeroen Hoebeke, Ingrid Moerman and Piet Demeester

Author Affiliations

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

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EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 2012, 2012:166  doi:10.1186/1687-1499-2012-166

Published: 10 May 2012


Developing energy-efficient MAC protocols for lightweight wireless systems has been a challenging task for decades because of the specific requirements of various applications and the varying environments in which wireless systems are deployed. Many MAC protocols for wireless networks have been proposed, often custom-made for a specific application. It is clear that one MAC does not fit all the requirements. So, how should a MAC layer deal with an application that has several modes (each with different requirements) or with the deployment of another application during the lifetime of the system? Especially in a mobile wireless system, like Smart Monitoring of Containers, we cannot know in advance the application state (empty container versus stuffed container). Dynamic switching between different energy-efficient MAC strategies is needed. Our architecture, called PluralisMAC, contains a generic multi-MAC framework and a generic neighbour monitoring and filtering framework. To validate the real-world feasibility of our architecture, we have implemented it in TinyOS and have done experiments on the TMote Sky nodes in the w-iLab.t testbed. Experimental results show that dynamic switching between MAC strategies is possible with minimal receive chain overhead, while meeting the various application requirements (reliability and low-energy consumption).

wireless networks; MAC; multi-MAC; neighbour management; framework; dynamic switching; testbed; smart container monitoring