Performance analysis of slotted carrier sense IEEE 802.15.4 medium access layer

Sofie Pollin*, Mustafa Ergen, Sinem Coleri Ergen, Brano Bougard, Liesbet Van Der Perre, Ingrid Moerman, Ahmad Bahai, Pravin Varaiya, Francky Catthoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

323 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in low-power and low-cost sensor networks have led to solutions mature enough for use in a broad range of applications varying from health monitoring to building surveillance. The development of those applications has been stimulated by the finalization of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, which defines the medium access control (MAC) and physical layer for sensor networks. One of the MAC schemes proposed is slotted Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA), and this paper analyzes whether this scheme meets the design constraints of those low-power and low-cost sensor networks. The paper provides a detailed analytical evaluation of its performance in a star topology network, for uplink and acknowledged uplink traffic. Both saturated and unsaturated periodic traffic scenarios are considered. The form of the analysis is similar to that of Bianchi for IEEE 802.11 DCF only in the use of a per user Markov model to capture the state of each user at each moment in time. The key assumptions to enable this important simplification and the coupling of the per user Markov models are however different, as a result of the very different designs of the 802.15.4 and 802.11 carrier sensing mechanisms. The performance predicted by the analytical model is very close to that obtained by simulation. Throughput and energy consumption analysis is then performed by using the model for a range of scenarios. Some design guidelines are derived to set the 802.15.4 parameters as function of the network requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4626310
Pages (from-to)3359-3371
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes


Manuscript received March 12, 2006; revised March 14, 2007 and March 6, 2008; accepted April 2, 2008. The associate editor coordinating the review of this paper and approving it for publication was K. Leung. Part of the material in this paper is published in IEEE Globecom 2006 and IEEE WCNC 2008. Research supported by IBBT WBA and National Semiconductor and ARO-MURI UCSC-W911NF-05-1-0246-VA-09/05. The first author is supported by a Marie Curie fellowship of the EC under the name Spectrum Sharing. S. Pollin was with IMEC and K. U. Leuven and is currently with UC Berkeley and IMEC, Belgium (e-mail: [email protected]). M. Ergen, Ahmad Bahai, and Pravin Varaiya are with UC Berkeley, USA. S. C. Ergen is with Pirelli/Telecom Italia WSN Berkeley Lab, USA. B. Bougard and F. Catthoor are with IMEC and K. U. Leuven, Belgium. L. Van der Perre is with IMEC, Belgium. I. Moerman is with UGent, Belgium. Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TWC.2008.060057.

FundersFunder number
European Commission
Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology


    • Access protocols
    • Communication standards
    • Communication system performance
    • Markov processes
    • Wireless PAN


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