An Energy-Efficient MAC Protocol for Medical Emergency Monitoring Body Sensor Networks

Chongqing Zhang, Yinglong Wang, YongQuan Liang, Minglei Shu, Changfang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Medical emergency monitoring body sensor networks (BSNs) monitor the occurrence of medical emergencies and are helpful for the daily care of the elderly and chronically ill people. Such BSNs are characterized by rare traffic when there is no emergency occurring, high real-time and reliable requirements of emergency data and demand for a fast wake-up mechanism for waking up all nodes when an emergency happens. A beacon-enabled MAC protocol is specially designed to meet the demands of medical emergency monitoring BSNs. The rarity of traffic is exploited to improve energy efficiency. By adopting a long superframe structure to avoid unnecessary beacons and allocating most of the superframe to be inactive periods, the duty cycle is reduced to an extremely low level to save energy. Short active time slots are interposed into the superframe and shared by all of the nodes to deliver the emergency data in a low-delay and reliable way to meet the real-time and reliable requirements. The interposition slots can also be used by the coordinator to broadcast network demands to wake-up all nodes in a low-delay and energy-efficient way. Experiments display that the proposed MAC protocol works well in BSNs with low emergency data traffic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number385
Pages (from-to)385
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2016


  • Body sensor networks (BSNs)
  • Energy efficient
  • MAC protocol
  • Medical emergency monitoring


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