Mobile Networks and Applications

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 783–791

Comparing Energy-Saving MAC Protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks


DOI: 10.1007/s11036-005-3371-x

Cite this article as:
Halkes, G.P., van Dam, T. & Langendoen, K.G. Mobile Netw Appl (2005) 10: 783. doi:10.1007/s11036-005-3371-x


Applications for wireless sensor networks have notably different characteristics and requirements from standard WLAN applications. Low energy consumption is the most important consideration. The low message rate that is typical for sensor network applications and the relaxed latency requirements allow for significant reductions in energy consumption of the radio. In this article we study the energy saved by two MAC protocols optimized for wireless sensor networks, S-MAC and T-MAC, in comparison to standard CSMA/CA, We also report on the effects of low-power listening, a physical layer optimization, in combination with these MAC protocols. The comparison is based on extensive simulation driven by traffic that varies over time and location; sensor nodes are inactive unless they observe some physical event, or send status updates to the sink node providing the connection to the wired world. T-MAC} in combination with low-power listening saves most energy, but can not handle the same peak loads as CSMA/CA and S-MAC.


medium access control energy efficiency idle listening duty cycle simulation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer ScienceDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands