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Clear Channel Assessment in Integrated Medical Environments


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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Correspondence to Bin Zhen.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Zhen, B., Li, HB., Hara, S. et al. Clear Channel Assessment in Integrated Medical Environments. J Wireless Com Network 2008, 821756 (2007).

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  • Wireless Technology
  • Healthcare Delivery
  • Spread Spectrum
  • Medical Environment