Open Access

Clear Channel Assessment in Integrated Medical Environments

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20072008:821756

DOI: 10.1155/2008/821756

Received: 16 July 2007

Accepted: 24 November 2007

Published: 13 December 2007


Complementary WLAN and WPAN technologies as well as other wireless technologies will play a fundamental role in the medical environments to support ubiquitous healthcare delivery. This paper investigates clear channel assessment (CCA) and its impact on the coexistence of WLAN (IEEE 802.11 high rate direct sequence spread spectrum (HR/DSSS) PHY) and WPAN (IEEE 802.15.4b) in the 2.4 GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band. We derived closed-form expressions of both energy-based CCA and feature-based CCA. We qualified unequal sensing abilities between them and termed this inequality asymmetric CCA, which is different from the traditional "hidden node" or "exposed node" issues in the homogeneous network. The energy-based CCA was considered in the considered integrated medical environment because the 2.4 GHz ISM band is too crowded to apply feature-based CCA. The WPAN is oversensitive to the 802.11 HR/DSSS signals and the WLAN is insensitive to the 802.15.4b signals. Choosing an optimal CCA threshold requires some prior knowledge of the underlying signals. In the integrated medical environment we considered here, energy-based CCA can effectively avoid possible packet collisions when they are close within the "heterogeneous exclusive CCA range" (HECR). However, when they are separated beyond the HECR, WPAN can still sense the 802.11 HR/DSSS signals, but WLAN loses its sense to the 802.15.4b signals. The asymmetric CCA leads to WPAN traffic in a position secondary to WLAN traffic.

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Authors’ Affiliations

National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)
Osaka City University
Yokohama National University


© Bin Zhen et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.