High transmission reliability, energy efficiency, and long lifetime are pivotal issues for wireless body area networks (WBANs. However, these performance metrics are not independent of each other, making it hard to obtain overall improvements through optimizing one single aspect. Therefore, a Cross Layer Design Optimal (CLDO) scheme is proposed to simultaneously optimize transmission reliability, energy efficiency, and lifetime of WBANs from several layers. Firstly, due to the fact that the transmission power of nodes directly influences the reliability of links, the optimized transmission power of different nodes is deduced, which is able to maximize energy efficiency in theory under the premise that requirements on delay and jitter are fulfilled. Secondly, a relay decision algorithm is proposed to choose optimized relay nodes. Using this algorithm, nodes will choose relay nodes that ensure a balance of network energy consumption, provided that all nodes transmit with optimized transmission power and the same packet size. Thirdly, the energy consumption of nodes is still unbalanced even with optimized transmission power because of their different locations in the topology of the network. In addition, packet size also has an impact on final performance metrics. Therefore, a synthesized cross layer method for optimization is proposed. With this method, the transmission power of nodes with more residual energy will be enhanced while suitable packet size is determined for different links in the network, leading to further improvements in the WBAN system. Both our comprehensive theoretical analysis and experimental results indicate that the performance of our proposed scheme is better than reported in previous studies. Relative to the relay selection and power control game (RSPCG) scheme, the CLDO scheme can enhance transmission reliability by more than 44.6% and prolong the lifetime by as much as 33.2%.
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