Networking Science

, Volume 3, Issue 1–4, pp 54–62 | Cite as

Heterogeneous MAC duty-cycling for energy-efficient Internet of Things deployments

  • Julien Beaudaux
  • Antoine Gallais
  • Thomas Noël
Research Article


The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm aims at connecting any object to the Internet (i.e. to the IP world). Due to the physical constraints (limited energy capacities) and deployment conditions (numerous autonomous devices scattered into an area) of such Things, power management and scalability are key issues in IoT deployments. While the problematics of the IP addressing have been successfully transposed to IoT networks, the dedicated IEEE 802.15.4 Medium Access Control standard lacks of scalability, provides insufficient energy-efficiency and thus fails to fulfill their needs. In this paper, we consider alternative MAC protocols, compatible with IoT specificities. These protocols realize energy gains by asynchronously alternating active and passive periods at the radio scale, thus allowing both energy-efficiency and scalability. For the time being, most real IoT deployments implement static and homogeneous duty-cycling (i.e. invariant and identical for each node in the network). Although preventing any node isolation, such method fails to address the dynamics of the network efficiently. We propose a strategy to enable heterogeneous MAC duty-cycle configurations among nodes in the network. We aim at granting each node a specific sleep-depth, according to criteria specific to the deployment (e.g. applicative criteria, location in the routing structure). To implement this idea, the nodes are divided into disjoint subsets, each of them standing for a given duty-cycle configuration and leading to a network performance managed at its best (e.g. energy consumption, loss-rate, delays). We detail to what extent our approach preserves network connectivity with coherent heterogeneous duty-cycling, thus reaching a compromise between energy consumption and reactivity. The presented experimental campaign was led over the IoT SensLAB testbed. It demonstrates that our solutions provide up to 61% energy saving, preserve the loss-rate below 10% and guarantee the connectivity of the network. They thus offer a better compromise between energy-efficiency and network performances than any homogeneous MAC configuration.


Internet of Things medium access control low-power-listening auto-adaptation 


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julien Beaudaux
    • 1
  • Antoine Gallais
    • 1
  • Thomas Noël
    • 1
  1. 1.ICube laboratory (UMR CNRS 7357)University of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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