Effective Medium Access Control for Underwater Acoustic Sensor Networks

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This work is concerned with the design, analysis and development of effective Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols for Underwater Acoustic Sensor Networks (UASNs). The use of acoustic waves underwater places time-variant channel constraints on the functionality of MAC protocols. The contrast between traffic characteristics of the wide-ranging applications of UASNs makes it hard to design a single MAC protocol that can be adaptive to various applications. This thesis proposes MAC solutions that can meet the environmental and non-environmental challenges posed underwater. Scheduling-based schemes are the most common MAC solutions for UASNs, but scheduling is also challenging in such a dynamic environment. The preferable way of synchronisation underwater is the use of a global scheduler, guard intervals and exchange of timing signals. To this end, single-hop topologies suit UASN applications very well. The Combined Free and Demand Assignment Multiple Access (CFDAMA) is a centralised, scheduling-based MAC protocol demonstrating simplicity and adaptability to the time-variant channel and traffic characteristics. It is shown to minimise end-to-end delay, maximise channel utilisation and maintain fairness amongst nodes. This thesis primarily introduces two novel robust MAC solutions for UASNs, namely CFDAMA with Systematic Round Robin and CFDAMA without clock synchronisation (CFDAMA-NoClock). The former scheme is more suitable for large-scale and widely-spread UASNs, whereas the latter is a more feasible MAC solution when synchronisation amongst node clocks cannot be attained. Both analytical and comprehensive event-driven Riverbed simulations of underwater scenarios selected based on realistic sensor deployments show that the two protocols make it possible to load the channel up to higher levels of its capacity with controlled delay performance superior to that achievable with the traditional CFDAMA schemes. The new scheduling features make the CFDAMA-NoClock scheme a very feasible networking solution for robust and efficient UASN deployments in the real world.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Mitchell, Paul Daniel, Supervisor
Award date13 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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