Massive IoT including the large number of resource-constrained IoT devices has gained great attention. IoT devices generate enormous traffic, which causes network congestion. To manage network congestion, multi-channel-based algorithms are proposed. However, most of the existing multi-channel algorithms require strict synchronization, an extra overhead for negotiating channel assignment, which poses significant challenges to resource-constrained IoT devices. In this paper, a distributed channel selection algorithm utilizing the tug-of-war (TOW) dynamics is proposed for improving successful frame delivery of the whole network by letting IoT devices always select suitable channels for communication adaptively. The proposed TOW dynamics-based channel selection algorithm has a simple reinforcement learning procedure that only needs to receive the acknowledgment (ACK) frame for the learning procedure, while simply requiring minimal memory and computation capability. Thus, the proposed TOW dynamics-based algorithm can run on resource-constrained IoT devices. We prototype the proposed algorithm on an extremely resource-constrained single-board computer, which hereafter is called the cognitive-IoT prototype. Moreover, the cognitive-IoT prototype is densely deployed in a frequently-changing radio environment for evaluation experiments. The evaluation results show that the cognitive-IoT prototype accurately and adaptively makes decisions to select the suitable channel when the real environment regularly varies. Accordingly, the successful frame ratio of the network is improved.
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