The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing technology in a wide variety of areas, from smart healthcare to smart transportation. Due to the increasing trend in the number of IoT devices and their different levels of energy requirements, one of the significant concerns in IoT implementations is powering up the IoT devices with conventional limited lifetime batteries. One efficient solution to prolong the lifespan of these implementations is to integrate energy harvesting technologies into IoT systems. However, due to the characteristics of the energy harvesting technologies and the different energy requirements of the IoT systems, this integration is a challenging issue. Since Medium Access Control (MAC) layer operations are the most energy-consuming processes in wireless communications, they have undergone different modifications and enhancements in the literature to address this issue. Despite the essential role of the MAC layer to efficiently optimize the energy consumption in IoT systems, there is a gap in the literature to systematically understand the possible MAC layer improvements allowing energy harvesting integration. In this survey paper, we provide a unified framework for different wireless technologies to measure their energy consumption from a MAC operation-based perspective, returning the essential information to select the suitable energy harvesters for different communication technologies within IoT systems. Our analyses show that only 23% of the presented protocols in the literature fulfill Energy Neutral Operation (ENO) condition. Moreover, 48% of them are based on the hybrid approaches, which shows its capability to be adapted to energy harvesting. We expect this survey paper to lead researchers in academia and industry to understand the current state-of-the-art of energy harvesting MAC protocols for IoT and improve the early adoption of these protocols in IoT systems.
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