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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Optimal Throughput and Energy Efficiency for Wireless Sensor Networks: Multiple Access and Multipacket Reception

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20052005:670575

  • Received: 9 December 2004
  • Published:


We investigate two important aspects in sensor network design—the throughput and the energy efficiency. We consider the uplink reachback problem where the receiver is equipped with multiple antennas and linear multiuser detectors. We first assume Rayleigh flat-fading, and analyze two MAC schemes: round-robin and slotted-ALOHA. We optimize the average number of transmissions per slot and the transmission power for two purposes: maximizing the throughput, or minimizing the effective energy (defined as the average energy consumption per successfully received packet) subject to a throughput constraint. For each MAC scheme with a given linear detector, we derive the maximum asymptotic throughput as the signal-to-noise ratio goes to infinity. It is shown that the minimum effective energy grows rapidly as the throughput constraint approaches the maximum asymptotic throughput. By comparing the optimal performance of different MAC schemes equipped with different detectors, we draw important tradeoffs involved in the sensor network design. Finally, we show that multiuser scheduling greatly enhances system performance in a shadow fading environment.


  • throughput
  • energy efficiency
  • multiuser diversity
  • scheduling
  • slotted-ALOHA
  • linear multiuser detector

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7914, USA


© W. Li and H. Dai 2005

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.