Thanks to their arising abilities to influence the human lifestyle, along with reducing the healthcare systems’ cost, wireless body area networks (WBANs) still form a strongly growing research field. Recent advances focus on the opportunities of coexistence and communication between a group of WBANs, that will forward the sensing data, using persons as network relays, until reaching a remote analysis server or cloud servers via the Internet, forming thus a body-to-body network (BBN). Such new-style networks support a range of innovative and promising applications, including ubiquitous healthcare (U-health), interactive games, and military, to cite a few. In this paper, we first present the evolution of the single WBAN concept to the cooperative network of multiple WBANs, giving rise to the BBN concept. A synopsis of the WBAN and BBN respective standards and applications is given, and the emerging BBN challenges are highlighted. Then, we present and discuss the existing WBAN proposals, especially the candidate WBAN protocols that could be adapted and used in BBNs, focusing on four intrinsically related axes of great importance for BBN design: energy efficiency, mobility prediction
, quality of service (QoS) and security. Further BBN open issues are also investigated, namely, the wireless propagation between humans carrying wearable devices, the interference, storage and privacy issues as well as the heterogeneity of BBN devices and traffic.
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