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J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2015, 4(2), 67-153; doi:10.3390/jsan4020067

Directional Medium Access Control (MAC) Protocols in Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks: A Survey

Institute for Infocomm Research, 1 Fusionopolis Way, #21-01 Connexis (South Tower), Singapore 138632, Singapore
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dharma P. Agrawal
Received: 30 April 2015 / Accepted: 2 June 2015 / Published: 16 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Directional Antenna Enhanced Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks)

Abstract

This survey paper presents the state-of-the-art directional medium access control (MAC) protocols in wireless ad hoc and sensor networks (WAHSNs). The key benefits of directional antennas over omni-directional antennas are longer communication range, less multipath interference, more spatial reuse, more secure communications, higher throughput and reduced latency. However, directional antennas lead to single-/multi-channel directional hidden/exposed terminals, deafness and neighborhood, head-of-line blocking, and MAC-layer capture which need to be overcome. Addressing these problems and benefits for directional antennas to MAC protocols leads to many classes of directional MAC protocols in WAHSNs. These classes of directional MAC protocols presented in this survey paper include single-channel, multi-channel, cooperative and cognitive directional MACs. Single-channel directional MAC protocols can be classified as contention-based or non-contention-based or hybrid-based, while multi-channel directional MAC protocols commonly use a common control channel for control packets/tones and one or more data channels for directional data transmissions. Cooperative directional MAC protocols improve throughput in WAHSNs via directional multi-rate/single-relay/multiple-relay/two frequency channels/polarization, while cognitive directional MAC protocols leverage on conventional directional MAC protocols with new twists to address dynamic spectrum access. All of these directional MAC protocols are the pillars for the design of future directional MAC protocols in WAHSNs. View Full-Text
Keywords: directional medium access control protocols; single-channel DMACs; multi-channel DMACs; cooperative DMACs; cognitive DMACs; contention; non-contention; hybrid; wireless ad hoc networks; wireless sensor networks directional medium access control protocols; single-channel DMACs; multi-channel DMACs; cooperative DMACs; cognitive DMACs; contention; non-contention; hybrid; wireless ad hoc networks; wireless sensor networks
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wong, D.T.C.; Chen, Q.; Chin, F. Directional Medium Access Control (MAC) Protocols in Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks: A Survey. J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2015, 4, 67-153.

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