Real-time multimedia applications require quality of service (QoS) provisioning in terms of bounds on delay and packet loss along with soft bandwidth guarantees. The shared nature of the wireless communication medium results in interference. Interference combined with the overheads, associated with a medium access control (MAC) protocol, and the implementation of a networking protocol stack limit the available bandwidth in IEEE 802.15.4-based networks and can result in congestion, even if the transmission rates of nodes are well below the maximum bandwidth supported by an underlying communication technology. Congestion degrades the performance of admitted real-time multimedia flow(s). Therefore, in this paper, we experimentally derive the IEEE 802.15.4 channel capacity using an unslotted CSMA-CA MAC protocol. We experimentally derive channel capacity for two cases, that is, when the CSMA-CA protocol is working without ACKs and when it is working with ACKs. Moreover, for both cases, we plot the relationship of offered data load with delay and packet loss rate. Simulation results demonstrate that the parameters that affect the choice of a CSMA-CA MAC layer protocol are end-to-end delay and packet loss requirements of a real-time multimedia flow, data load within the interference range of transmitters along the forwarding path, and length of the forwarding path.

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Journal Mobile Information Systems
Farooq, M.O. (Muhammad Omer), & Kunz, T. (2015). Contiki-based IEEE 802.15.4 channel capacity estimation and suitability of its CSMA-CA MAC layer protocol for real-time multimedia applications. Mobile Information Systems, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/398637