Underwater Sensor Networks (UWSNs) utilise acoustic waves with comparatively lower loss and longer range than those of electromagnetic waves. However, energy remains a challenging issue in addition to long latency, high bit error rate, and limited bandwidth. Thus, collision and retransmission should be efficiently handled at Medium Access Control (MAC) layer in order to reduce the energy cost and also to improve the throughput and fairness across the network. In this paper, we propose a new reservation-based distributed MAC protocol called ED-MAC, which employs a duty cycle mechanism to address the spatial-temporal uncertainty and the hidden node problem to effectively avoid collisions and retransmissions. ED-MAC is a conflict-free protocol, where each sensor schedules itself independently using local information. Hence, ED-MAC can guarantee conflict-free transmissions and receptions of data packets. Compared with other conflict-free MAC protocols, ED-MAC is distributed and more reliable, i.e., it schedules according to the priority of sensor nodes which based on their depth in the network. We then evaluate design choices and protocol performance through extensive simulation to study the load effects and network scalability in each protocol. The results show that ED-MAC outperforms the contention-based MAC protocols and achieves a significant improvement in terms of successful delivery ratio, throughput, energy consumption, and fairness under varying offered traffic and number of nodes.
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