In wireless sensor networks, energy efficiency is important because sensor nodes have limited energy. 3-dimensional group management medium access control (3-D GM-MAC) is an attractive MAC protocol for application to the Internet of Things (IoT) environment with various sensors. 3-D GM-MAC outperforms the existing MAC schemes in terms of energy efficiency, but has some stability issues. In this paper, methods that improve the stability and transmission performance of 3-D GM-MAC are proposed. A buffer management scheme for sensor nodes is newly proposed. Fixed sensor nodes that have a higher priority than the mobile sensor nodes in determining the group numbers that were added, and an advanced group number management scheme was introduced. The proposed methods were simulated and analyzed. The newly derived buffer threshold had a similar energy efficiency to the original 3-D GM-MAC, but improved performance in the aspects of data loss rate and data collection rate. Data delay was not included in the comparison factors as 3-D GM-MAC targets non-real-time applications. When using fixed sensor nodes, the number of group number resets is reduced by about 43.4% and energy efficiency increased by about 10%. Advanced group number management improved energy efficiency by about 23.4%. In addition, the advanced group number management with periodical group number resets of the entire sensor nodes showed about a 48.9% improvement in energy efficiency.
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