Open Access

On PHY and MAC Performance in Body Sensor Networks

  • Sana Ullah1Email author,
  • Henry Higgins2,
  • S. M. Riazul Islam1,
  • Pervez Khan1 and
  • Kyung Sup Kwak1
EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20092009:479512

Received: 26 January 2009

Accepted: 14 May 2009

Published: 23 June 2009


This paper presents an empirical investigation on the performance of body implant communication using radio frequency (RF) technology. In body implant communication, the electrical properties of the body influence the signal propagation in several ways. We use a Perspex body model (30 cm diameter, 80 cm height and 0.5 cm thickness) filled with a liquid that mimics the electrical properties of the basic body tissues. This model is used to observe the effects of body tissue on the RF communication. We observe best performance at 3cm depth inside the liquid. We further present a simulation study of several low-power MAC protocols for an on-body sensor network and discuss the derived results. Also, the traditional preamble-based TMDA protocol is extended towards a beacon-based TDMA protocol in order to avoid preamble collision and to ensure low-power communication.

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Authors’ Affiliations

Graduate School of Telecommunication Engineering, Inha University
Microelectronics Division, Zarlink Semiconductor Company


© Sana Ullah et al. 2009

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.