Network lifetime maximization of wireless biomedical implant systems is one of the major research challenges of wireless body area networks (WBANs). In this paper, a mutual information (MI)-based incremental relaying communication protocol is presented where several on-body relay nodes and one coordinator are attached to the clothes of a patient. Firstly, a comprehensive analysis of a system model is investigated in terms of channel path loss, energy consumption, and the outage probability from the network perspective. Secondly, only when the MI value becomes smaller than the predetermined threshold is data transmission allowed. The communication path selection can be either from the implanted sensor to the on-body relay then forwards to the coordinator or from the implanted sensor to the coordinator directly, depending on the communication distance. Moreover, mathematical models of quality of service (QoS) metrics are derived along with the related subjective functions. The results show that the MI-based incremental relaying technique achieves better performance in comparison to our previous proposed protocol techniques regarding several selected performance metrics. The outcome of this paper can be applied to intra-body continuous physiological signal monitoring, artificial biofeedback-oriented WBANs, and telemedicine system design.
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