Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 111–122 | Cite as

A wireless sensor networks MAC protocol for real-time applications

  • E. Egea-LópezEmail author
  • J. Vales-Alonso
  • A. S. Martínez-Sala
  • J. García-Haro
  • P. Pavón-Mariño
  • M. V. Bueno Delgado
Original Article


Wireless sensor networks (WSN) are designed for data gathering and processing, with particular requirements: low hardware complexity, low energy consumption, special traffic pattern support, scalability, and in some cases, real-time operation. In this paper we present the virtual TDMA for sensors (VTS) MAC protocol, which intends to support the previous features, focusing particularly on real-time operation. VTS adaptively creates a TDMA arrangement with a number of timeslots equal to the actual number of nodes in range. Thus, VTS achieves an optimal throughput performance compared to TDMA protocols with fixed size of frame. The frame is set up and maintained by a distributed procedure, which allows sensors to asynchronously join and leave the frame. In addition, duty cycle is increased or decreased in order to keep latency constant below a given deadline. Therefore, a major advantage of VTS is that it guarantees a bounded latency, which allows soft real-time applications.


Wireless sensor networks MAC protocols Real-time applications 



The Economy, Industry and Innovation Council have cofunded this work, with the SOLIDMOVIL project (2I04SU044), supported by Fundacion Seneca, from the Region of Murcia with the ARENA Project (00546/PI/04), with the ARPaq project (TEC2004-05622-C04-02/TCM) by the Spanish Research Council and the CSI-RHET project (TEC2005-08068-C04-01/TCM).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Egea-López
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Vales-Alonso
    • 1
  • A. S. Martínez-Sala
    • 1
  • J. García-Haro
    • 1
  • P. Pavón-Mariño
    • 1
  • M. V. Bueno Delgado
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information Technologies and CommunicationsPolytechnic University of CartagenaCartagenaSpain

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