Decentralized time-synchronized channel swapping for ad hoc wireless networks
This publication appears in: IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Authors: G. Smart, N. Deligiannis, R. Surace, V. Loscri, G. Fortino and Y. Andreopoulos
Pages: 8538 - 8553
Publication Year: 2016
Time-synchronized channel hopping (TSCH) is cur- rently the most efficient solution for collision-free, interference- avoiding communications in ad hoc wireless networks, such as wireless sensor networks, vehicular networks, and networks of robots or drones. However, all variants of TSCH require some form of centralized coordination to maintain the time-frequency slotting mechanism. This leads to slow convergence to steady state and moderate time-frequency slot utilization, especially under node churn or mobility. We propose decentralized time- synchronized channel swapping (DT-SCS), a novel protocol for medium access control (MAC) in ad hoc wireless networks. Under the proposed protocol, nodes first converge to synchronous beacon packet transmissions across all available channels at the physical layer, with balanced number of nodes in each channel. This is done by the novel coupling of distributed synchronization and desynchronization mechanismswhich are based on the concept of pulse-coupled oscillatorsat the MAC layer. Decentralized channel swapping can then take place via peer-to-peer swap requests/acknowledgments made between con- current transmitters in neighboring channels. We benchmark the convergence and network throughput of DT-SCS, TSCH and the Efficient Multichannel MAC (EM-MAC) protocol (seen as the state-of-the-art in decentralized, interference-avoiding, multichannel MAC protocols) under simulated packet losses at the MAC layer. Moreover, performance results via a Contiki- based deployment on TelosB motes reveal that DT-SCS comprises an excellent candidate for decentralized multichannel MAC layer coordination by providing for: quick convergence to steady state, high bandwidth utilization under interference and hidden nodes, and high connectivity.