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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO.

2, JUNE 2013 649


Energy-Efcient Wireless MAC Protocols
for Railway Monitoring Applications
G. M. Shaullah, Member, IEEE, Salahuddin A. Azad, and A. B. M. Shawkat Ali, Senior Member, IEEE
AbstractRecent advances in wireless sensor networking
(WSN) techniques have encouraged interest in the development
of vehicle health monitoring (VHM) systems. These have the
potential for use in the monitoring of railway signaling systems
and rail tracks. Energy efciency is one of the most impor-
tant design factors for the WSNs as the typical sensor nodes
are equipped with limited power batteries. In earlier research,
an energy-efcient cluster-based adaptive time-division multiple-
access (TDMA) medium-access-control (MAC) protocol, named
EA-TDMA, has been developed by the authors for the purpose
of communication between the sensors placed in a railway wagon.
This paper proposes another new protocol, named E-BMA, which
achieves even better energy efciency for low and medium trafc
by minimizing the idle time during the contention period. In addi-
tion to railway applications, the EA-TDMA and E-BMA protocols
are suitable for generic wireless data communication purposes.
Both analytical and simulation results for the energy consumption
of TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA have been presented in
this paper to demonstrate the superiority of the EA-TDMA and
E-BMA protocols.
Index TermsEnergy efciency, medium access control (MAC)
protocol, railway wagon, vehicle health monitoring (VHM), wire-
less sensor network (WSN).
I. INTRODUCTION
W
ITH the increased demand for railway services, railway
monitoring systems continue to advance at a remarkable
pace to maintain reliable, safe, and secure operation. The lack of
safety and security monitoring of railway infrastructure runs the
risk of train collision, train derailment, terrorist threats, failures
in the train wagons, etc. The performance of rail vehicles run-
ning on tracks is limited by the lateral instability inherent to the
design of the wagons steering and the response of the railway
wagon to individual or combined track irregularities. Railway
track irregularities need to be kept within safe operating mar-
gins by undertaking appropriate maintenance programs. Track
geometry inspection and monitoring enhances train-operating
safety and reduced vehicle and track dynamic interaction. Mon-
Manuscript received March 15, 2012; revised August 15, 2012 and
October 15, 2012; accepted October 20, 2012. Date of publication
November 30, 2012; date of current version May 29, 2013. This work was
supported in part by Prof. P. Wolfs and in part by Prof. C. Cole, both from the
Center for Railway Engineering, Central Queensland University. The Associate
Editor for this paper was B. Ning.
G. M. Shaullah and S. A. Azad are with the Power Engineering Research
Group, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Central Queensland Uni-
versity, Rockhampton, Qld. 4702, Australia (e-mail: g.shaullah@cqu.edu.au;
s.azad@cqu.edu.au).
A. B. M. S. Ali is with the School of Information and Communication Tech-
nology, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld. 4702, Australia
(e-mail: s.ali@cqu.edu.au).
Color versions of one or more of the gures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
Digital Object Identier 10.1109/TITS.2012.2227315
Fig. 1. Typical scenario for railway-wagon health monitoring system.
itoring vehicle characteristics in real time from track measure-
ment data has been addressed by various research organizations
[2][7]. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are widely used
to monitor railway tracks and irregularities, detect abandoned
objects in railway stations, develop intrusion detection systems,
secure railway operations, and monitor tunnels [8][10].
Seifert envisioned [8] that a network of smart sensors could
be utilized to monitor public spaces for potential invasion
to alert the operators at a control center about the event. In
addition, a WSN can be deployed to monitor large areas with
greater efcacy in video-based intrusion detection systems.
Aboelela et al. [9] proposed a new approach to reduce the
accident rate and increase the efciency of railroad maintenance
activities. The protocol adopts a multilayered multipath routing
architecture in which each sensor transmits the sensed data
to the two nearest cluster heads (CHs). Each CH aggregates
the data using a fuzzy logic technique and transfers it to the
sink node. Cheekiralla [10] designed a wireless sensor unit for
the surveillance of a train tunnel, which measures the vertical
displacements along the critical zone of the tunnel during
adjacent construction activity.
The potential of WSN technology to monitor the railway-
wagon health condition and the vertical displacement of railway
wagons due to track irregularities has yet to be fully explored.
The limited lifetime of the batteries that power the sensor nodes
makes the energy efciency a major design issue for WSNs
[11]. This paper concentrates on developing an energy-efcient
WSN MAC protocol to collect data from sensor nodes that
are placed inside the railway wagons and send the data to
the locomotive for further precautionary actions to prevent any
future disastrous events. A prototype of the proposed railway-
wagon health monitoring systemis given in Fig. 1. Although the
proposed energy-efcient protocol is designed with the railway
applications in mind, it is applicable to generic wireless data
communication purposes. Analytical and simulation models
have been developed for the existing and proposed protocols to
compare their performances in terms of energy consumption.
1524-9050/$31.00 2012 IEEE
650 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO. 2, JUNE 2013
II. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Central Queensland University, in collaboration with the
Center for Railway Engineering [4], has been working on an
autonomous health card device for online analysis of car body
motion to perceive track condition and monitor derailment.
The health card devices use an accelerometer and angular rate
sensors with a coordinate transform to analyze the car body
motions into six degrees of freedom [12], [13]. These health
card devices inspect every wagon in the eet using low-cost
smart devices [4], [12]. An algorithm was developed, which
analyzes signals coming from accelerometers mounted on the
wagon body to measure the dynamic interaction between the
track and the rail vehicle. The algorithm was validated using
collected eld data, e.g., accelerations measured at strategic
points on the wagon body and the bogies.
Each prototype health card incorporates a 27-MHz mi-
crocontroller with 256 kB of onboard RAM, four dual-axis
accelerometers, a Global Positioning Satellite receiver, two
low-power radios, lithium-ion batteries, and a solar panel. A
Rabbit 3000 processor is used, which requires 200 mW of
power at 40 MHz. The rst generation of the health card con-
sumes a total of 400 mWor energy requirement of 9.6 Wh daily.
An 80-Wh lithium battery is built into the health card that can
provide energy for up to eight days. Data were collected from
a ballast wagon in which dual-axis accelerometers were tted
to each corner of the body and each side frame. A personal-
computer-based data acquisition system was used to store data.
The main purpose of the data acquisition was to provide real
data that are represented to the health card device. Data have
been used to validate and demonstrate the effectiveness of
signal analysis techniques and, nally, to develop a model
to monitor typical dynamic behavior and track irregularities
[12], [13].
Both the vertical and lateral conditions of the railway
wagon have been measured by each accelerometer. The aim
of the sensing arrangement was to capture roll, pitch, yaw,
vertical, and lateral accelerations of the wagon body. The
ADXL202/ADXL210 [14] dual-axis low-power low-cost ac-
celeration sensor measured 16 channel acceleration data in g
units, with eight channels for the wagon body and eight for
the wagon side frame. Four sensor nodes were placed in each
wagon body, and the locations of the sensors were front-left
body, front-right body, rear-left body, and rear-right body. Sim-
ilarly, four sensor nodes were placed in each wagons side fame
[4]. Sensor locations and naming convention are illustrated
in Fig. 2. The sampling rate of the accelerometer can be set
from 0.01 Hz to 5 KHz through adjustable capacitors, and the
clock speed of this health card device was set to 100 Hz. Data
were continuously collected from a ballast wagon, which was a
conventional three-piece bogie spaced l
b
= 10.97 m apart. The
accelerometers were spaced l = 14.4 m apart. The test run was
a normal ballast lying operation, starting with a full load of
ballast, traveling to the maintenance site, dropping the ballast
on the track, and returning empty via the same route.
This research work is an extension of the existing health card
system development endeavor, aiming at improving the energy
efciency of the railway-wagon health monitoring system. In
the proposed system, there are ve sensor nodes placed inside
Fig. 2. Accelerometer locations and axis naming convention [4].
each wagon, instead of four in the existing system. One sensor
node is used as a CH that collects data from other nodes and
sends data to the central control room or base station (BS). In
this system, an accelerometer has been placed in each corner of
the wagon and one accelerometer at the center of the wagon,
which acts as a CH. The BS is placed in the middle of the train
for optimal signal transmission range. If there are W wagons
in the train, then the BS is positioned between wagons W/2
and W/2 + 1. This feature not only reduces the overall energy
consumption of the network signicantly but reduces energy
dissipation of each CH as well, as they need to transmit data
over a shorter range.
Each node forwards packets to the CHin each wagon, and the
CH works as a router to send the data to the BS in the middle
of the train. The locomotive driver can monitor the sensor data
through an audio/visual system and take decisions accordingly.
Each node is powered by an internal battery to make this work
independently.
The cluster-based WSN deployed in the railway-wagon
health monitoring system, as illustrated, must be designed to
be very energy efcient and reliable. In a sensor node, power is
required for data sensing, communication, and data processing.
Energy efciency is a major issue in designing WSN to prolong
the network lifetime as the sensor nodes have limited battery
lifetime. The main sources of energy loss are idle listening, col-
lision, overhearing, overemitting, and control packet overhead
[11], [15].
The wireless modules of the health card were developed
using Bluetooth IEEE 802.15.1 standard [16], which is an
outdated standard. Bluetooth devices are inefcient in terms of
energy dissipation. The data communication range of Bluetooth
is only 10 m, which requires more of sensors per wagon
for data communication with the locomotive. The absence of
energy-efcient features for data collection and communica-
tion between wagons to the locomotive makes this system
less reliable. Instead of Bluetooth technology, this study con-
siders the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee standard [17], which is an
ultralow-power and low-data-rate radio standard. Due to its
simplicity and low cost, ZigBee is the most suitable standard
to date for railway applications, e.g., data communication be-
tween sensor nodes placed inside the wagons. The CC2431
SHAFIULLAH et al.: WIRELESS MAC PROTOCOLS FOR RAILWAY MONITORING APPLICATIONS 651
Fig. 3. Operation diagram of TDMA [22].
System-on-Chip [18] uses an energy-efcient ZigBee-enabled
CC2420 RF transceiver [19] with an enhanced 8051 micro-
controller, up to 128-KB Flash memory, 8 KB of RAM, and
many other powerful features, such as lowcurrent consumption,
that makes the technology an attractive solution for WSNs. The
ZigBee-compliant radio operates on 16 channels in the 2.4-GHz
ISM band, and standard data rates are 250 kb/s. This data
transfer capability is suitable for the sensor networks placed in
the railway wagon.
In general, the maximum length of the railway wagon is
17 m. However, considering redundancy, it is wise to be
considering a radio receiver with a 34-m range that covers
two wagons. Hence, the transmission range of the receiver is
expected to be sufcient for the railway wagon as it covers
35 m of wireless range.
IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee standard has four states: sleep or
shutdown, idle or listening, transmit, and receiving. It was
shown in an experiment by Bougard et al. [20] that the Zigbee
standard consumes less than 50% of the energy for actual
data transmission, and the rest of the energy is consumed for
other activities. A signicant percentage (25%) of the energy is
consumed during the contention procedure. This is due to the
multiplicative effect of carrier-sense multiple access/collision
detection (CSMA/CD). The waiting for an acknowledgement
consumes 15% of the energy. Moreover, 20% of the en-
ergy is used for listening for the beacon by the transceiver.
Based on the energy breakdown, several ways to improve the
overall energy efciency were proposed by the researchers.
Bougard et al. [20] proposed an energy-aware radio activation
policy to optimize the PHY and MAC layers parameters in a
dense sensor network scenario. Experimental results showed
that PHY level improvements combined with MAC optimiza-
tions allow energy-efcient self-powered sensor networks [20].
The traditional wireless MAC and routing protocols do
not fulll the requirements of WSN applications since WSN
protocols need to focus on energy-efcient design to ensure
minimum power consumption and maximum battery lifetime
[21], [22]. Energy-efcient MAC and routing protocol design is
currently a prime research area in wireless data communication
application.
This paper concentrates on developing an energy-efcient
WSN MAC protocol to collect data from sensor nodes that are
placed inside the railway wagons and send it to the locomotive
for further precautionary actions. The authors have already de-
veloped an analytical model of an energy-efcient WSN MAC
protocol EA-TDMA [1], which is the most suitable for medium
to high trafc. This paper proposes another energy-efcient
WSN MAC protocol, named E-BMA, which achieves even
better energy efciency. Popular MAC protocols are discussed
in the following section with their strengths and weaknesses.
III. SCHEDULE-BASED MEDIUM-ACCESS
CONTROL PROTOCOL
The major requirements of a wireless MAC protocol are:
energy efciency, scalability, latency, fairness, and bandwidth
utilization. Contention-based protocols are scalable and adapt-
able to node density or trafc load variations. However, these
schemes have a major limitation relating to an enormous
amount of energy wasted due to collisions, overhearing, and
idle listening [11], [21]. Schedule-based protocols are collision
free and, hence, trim down the wastage of energy due to colli-
sion. However, they lack the exibility and scalability inherent
in the contention-based protocols.
Time-division multiple access (TDMA) is a schedule-based
MAC protocol where the transmission channel is divided into
several time slots, and each node is assigned a time slot. Each
node wakes up and transmits data only in its allocated time slot
and remains in sleep mode in the remaining time slots [11],
[21]. However, this protocol only uses the node energy ef-
ciently when the trafc load is high. Nodes with empty buffers
keep their radio turned on during their scheduled slot and,
hence, dissipate some of their remaining energy. The energy-
efcient TDMA (E-TDMA) reduces energy consumption due
to idle listening. Sensor nodes keep their radios off when there
is no data to transmit. However, the CH has to keep the radio
on all the time and hence waste energy [11], [21], [22]. Fig. 3
illustrates a single round for TDMA protocol.
Low-energy adaptive clustering hierarchy (LEACH) [23], an
architecture for wireless microsensor networks, incorporates
the features of cluster-based routing and MAC protocol. This
protocol achieves energy efciency and low latency while
maintaining application-specic quality. LEACH allows all
data from nodes within the cluster to be locally processed in
the CH that reduces the data set. Data aggregation was done
to combine several correlated data signals into a smaller set of
information, and then, the resultant data were sent to the BS
using a xed spreading code and a CSMA approach [23], [24].
The bit-map-assisted (BMA) protocol [25] is another
schedule-based protocol that aims at reducing energy wastage
652 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO. 2, JUNE 2013
Fig. 4. Operation diagram of the BMA protocol [25].
Fig. 5. Operation and timing diagram of the EA-TDMA protocol [1].
due to collision and idle listening. This protocol deals only
with event-driven networks where sensor nodes forward data
to the CH only if a signicant event has been detected. The
cluster setup phase is similar to the LEACH [23] protocol.
In the contention period, each node in the cluster transmits
a 1-bit control message to the CH node during its allocated
slot if it has data to transmit; otherwise, the transmitter radio
remains idle. At the end of the contention period, the CH in the
BMA protocol makes a transmission schedule and transmits the
schedule only to the source nodes [25], [26]. In TDMA, once
a node is allocated a data slot, that allocation persists for all
frames in that round regardless of whether the node has enough
data packets to send in each frame. Conversely, in BMA, the
allocation is done in the contention phase before the starting of
each frame, as shown in Fig. 4. Therefore, BMA is more energy
efcient than TDMA and E-TDMA for the cases of low trafc
load, relatively few sensor nodes per cluster, and relatively large
packet size [25], [26].
In railway applications, the accelerometer data are contin-
uously collected while the train is in operation from sensor
nodes, and hence, this application is classied as a medium to
high trafc load as the sensor collects data at the rate of 25 kb/s.
Considering the application requirements, authors developed
an energy-efcient protocol, named EA-TDMA [1], which
reduces the energy consumption during data transmission. In
this protocol, every node wakes up in its allocated slot and
transmits data to the CH. If there are no data to send, it turns off
the radio immediately. The nodes move into sleep mode instead
of idle mode in the absence of data. An operation diagram and
a timing diagram of the EA-TDMA protocol are illustrated in
SHAFIULLAH et al.: WIRELESS MAC PROTOCOLS FOR RAILWAY MONITORING APPLICATIONS 653
Fig. 6. Operation of the E-BMA protocol.
Fig. 5(a) and (b), respectively. A detailed description of the
EA-TDMA protocol is available in [1]. The energy consump-
tion of EA-TDMA is signicantly less than TDMA at low
trafc loads, although this gap diminishes at high trafc loads.
This protocol also outperforms BMA protocol in all trafc
conditions except very low trafc [1]. In this paper, in addition
to the analytical results, the superiority of the EA-TDMA
protocol has been demonstrated by the simulation model.
The railway-wagon health monitoring system requires the
MAC protocol to be capable of handling steady trafc and
energy efcient. Although some of the aforementioned proto-
cols were customized to achieve energy efciency, this paper
further explores the achievement of better energy efciency. In
addition to the EA-TDMA protocol in this paper, the authors
propose a new energy-efcient WSN MAC protocol, named
E-BMA. This paper explores both the analytical and simulation
model of EA-TDMA and E-BMA protocols to demonstrate the
superiority of these protocols compared with other conventional
protocols. The proposed protocol achieves better energy ef-
ciency for low to medium trafc load, and it is comparable with
the EA-TDMA and TDMA protocols for high trafc load. The
newly proposed energy-efcient E-BMA protocol is described
in the next section.
IV. ENERGY-EFFICIENT E-BMA PROTOCOL
The BMA protocol consumes less energy than TDMA at low
and medium trafc loads, whereas in the energy-efcient ver-
sion, EA-TDMA consumes less energy than BMA, unless the
trafc load is very low. The contention phase in BMA helps to
minimize the idle listening period during the data transmission
phase; however, the contention phase itself consumes a certain
amount of energy before each frame transmission. The energy
consumption in the contention phase is paid off at light trafc
loads. However, at high trafc loads, this contention phase
turns into an overhead as the probability of data transmission
becomes almost certain. In the proposed E-BMA protocol, the
source nodes use piggybacking to make the reservation of the
corresponding data slot rather than sending a control message
during its allocated contention slot, as shown in Fig. 6. Unlike
BMA, in the new protocol, a source node does not make the
reservation in the contention slot as soon as the data packet
becomes available. Instead, it waits for one additional frame
duration to see if there is a successive data packet to send.
There is a 1-bit eld allocated in each data packet header to
indicate whether the source node has a successive data packet
to send. If a source node has successive data packets to send in a
number of consecutive frames, the reservation is made once for
the initial data packet in its allocated contention slot, and the
successive conrmations will be made through piggybacking.
Note that piggybacking a control message requires only 1-bit
extra space in the data packet, and hence, the additional power
required for piggybacking a control message on a data packet
is negligible. In E-BMA, the transceiver of the source node is
turned off during the contention phase when it has no control
message to send, whereas in BMA, the transmitter is kept
idle in similar situations. This allows the E-BMA protocol to
save energy both at low and medium trafc. E-MBA is only
outperformed by TDMA and EA-TDMA when the trafc load
is extremely high. To achieve energy efciency, the E-BMA
protocol compromises the latency of data transmission. Each
data packet has to wait for one additional frame duration before
being transmitted to the CH. As there will be few sensor nodes
per cluster in the railway-wagon health monitoring system, the
frame length will be much shorter, and the latency of E-BMA
will be within the acceptable limit.
Operation of the E-MBA protocol is divided into rounds,
and each round is comprised of a setup phase and a steady-
state phase. The steady-state phase is comprised of a contention
phase and a data transmission phase. Both cluster formation
and CH selection occur in the setup phase. All non-CH nodes
reserve the data slots in the contention phase, whereas data
transmission from source nodes to the CH occurs during the
data transmission phase.
Setup Phase: Considering the specic application area and
its simplicity, it is assumed that the network consists of
multiple xed clusters. In each of the clusters, there is
one CH located in the center of the cluster. Based on
the application and cluster size, direct transmission for
data communication between source nodes and the CH is
considered instead of multihop data transmission. In the
setup phase, the CH informs all nodes about the start of the
current round, frame start/stop time, and number of frames
in a round.
Contention Phase: Each node is assigned a specic slot in
the contention phase. A node transmits a 1-bit control
654 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO. 2, JUNE 2013
message during its scheduled slot to reserve a data slot
if it has a data packet to transmit; otherwise, the node
remains in sleep mode during that contention slot. After
the contention period is completed, the CH sets up and
broadcasts a transmission schedule for the source nodes.
However, unlike BMA, the source node does not make the
reservation immediately after the data becomes available.
Instead, the source node keeps the data packet in the buffer,
and it waits for one frame duration to see if there is a
consecutive data packet to send.
Data Transmission Phase: The data transmission phase con-
tains one or more frames. The size and duration of each
frame is xed. Nodes send their data to the CH at most
once per frame during their allocated time slot. During the
data transmission phase, each source node turns on its radio
in its allocated data slot and transmits data to the CH. If
there are consecutive packets, the transmitted data packet
conveys that information through piggybacking.
After receiving all data from the nodes of a round, data ag-
gregation takes place to reduce unwanted data. A considerable
amount of energy is saved if the data are locally aggregated in
the CH rst rather than when sending the raw data to the BS
or central controller and aggregating them in the BS. Then, the
resultant data are sent from the CH to the BS using a spreading
code and a CSMA approach, as used in the LEACH protocol
[20]. Once the CH is ready to send the aggregated data, it must
sense the channel to see if anyone else is transmitting using
the BS spreading code. The CH waits if the channel is busy;
otherwise, the CH transmits data to the BS. After a predened
time, the system begins the next round, and the whole process
is repeated.
Analytical and simulation models were developed based on
the energy model [21], [22] for the TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA,
and E-BMA to compare their performances in terms of trafc
load and energy dissipation features, which is presented in the
next section.
V. ANALYTICAL AND SIMULATION MODELING
To analyze the performance of the proposed E-BMAprotocol
and compare its performance with existing wireless MAC pro-
tocols, including EA-TDMA, analytical and simulation models
have developed.
This proposed protocol is analyzed in a WSN scenario where
there are one CH and N non-CH nodes in each cluster, assum-
ing that there are l frames in a round. The data slot duration is
assumed to be T
d
. Let the probability of a node having data to
transmit be p. The power consumption in the transmit mode and
the receive mode are P
t
and P
r
, respectively. Energy dissipation
of idle listening mode is Pi. For simplicity, as stated in [21]
and [23], the energy required to turn on the radio by the source
nodes for transmission or reception is negligible and, hence, is
ignored in the following analysis.
As per denition, T
d
is the time required to transmit or
receive a data packet, and it is assumed that T
c
is the time
required to transmit/receive a control packet. The time required
for the CH to transmit a control message to all non-CH nodes
in BMA is T
ch
. The time required for a node to switch on,
TABLE I
NOMENCLATURE
check its buffer, and turn off its radio is in E-TDMA is T
e
. The
parameters used in the analysis are dened in Table I.
A. Energy Consumption
The energy consumption of the TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA,
and E-BMA protocols based on the energy model in [20] and
[22] is modeled as follows.
Energy Consumption of TDMA Protocol: During the con-
tention, the CH and all non-CH nodes keep their radios
on, and communication takes place between the CH and
all non-CH nodes. In this period, the CH assigns data slots
to individual nodes for data transmission and informs all
nodes in the cluster. Therefore, energy consumption by
the CH to send a control message is P
t
T
c
, and energy
consumption by each node to receive a control message is
P
r
T
c
. Therefore, the energy consumption in a contention
period is given by
E
cont
= NP
r
T
c
+ P
t
T
c
. (1)
Each node transmits, at most, one packet per frame inter-
val. During a frame transmission, energy consumption by
a source node is P
t
T
d
. The energy consumed by the CH
while receiving the data packet is P
r
T
d
. A nonsource node
turns on its radio and keeps it idle during its scheduled time
slots. The energy consumed by a nonsource node is P
i
T
d
.
As the CH also stays in idle mode when there are no data
to receive from the non-CH node during a data slot, the
energy consumed by the CH is also P
i
T
d
.
In a data slot, a node sends data with probability p and
remains idle with probability (1 p). The expected energy
consumption during a single frame transmission consisting
of N data slots is [pP
t
T
d
+ (1 p)P
i
T
d
+ pP
r
T
d
+ (1
p)PiTd]N. The expected energy consumption in a trans-
mission round is given by
E
trans
=[pP
t
T
d
+(1p)P
e
T
e
+pP
r
T
d
+(1p)P
i
T
d
] lN. (2)
As each round is comprised of l frames, the average energy
consumption per round in the TDMA protocol can be
SHAFIULLAH et al.: WIRELESS MAC PROTOCOLS FOR RAILWAY MONITORING APPLICATIONS 655
formulated as
E
TDMA
=[NP
r
T
c
+ P
t
T
c
]
+ [pP
t
T
d
+ 2(1 p)P
i
T
d
+ pP
r
T
d
] lN. (3)
Energy Consumption of EA-TDMA Protocol: Similar to the
TDMA protocol, the energy consumption in a contention
period is given by
E
cont
= NP
r
T
c
+ P
t
T
c
. (4)
EA-TDMA differs from TDMA in that every non-CH node
in EA-TDMA wakes up in its allocated slot and checks
transmit buffers. If there are no data to send, it turns off the
radio immediately. Hence, the energy consumed by a non-
CH node that has no data to transmit is P
e
T
e
. The energy
P
e
T
e
is used to switch on, check the transmit buffers,
and then turn off the radio module. The expected energy
consumption in a transmission round is given by
E
trans
= [[pP
t
T
d
+ (1 p)P
e
T
e
]
+ [pP
r
T
d
+ (1 p)P
i
T
d
]] lN. (5)
As each round is comprised of l frames, the average energy
consumption per round in the EA-TDMA protocol can be
formulated as
E
EATDMA
= [NP
r
T
c
+ P
t
T
c
] + [[pP
t
T
d
+ (1 p)P
e
T
e
]
+ [pP
r
T
d
+ (1 p)P
i
T
d
]] lN. (6)
Energy Consumption of BMA Protocol: In BMA, there is
a contention period in each session when all nodes keep
their radios on. Each source node transmits a control
message during its scheduled slot, as well as its remains
idle (N 1) slots. Each nonsource node stays idle during
the contention period. During a contention slot, the CH
node receives control packets when there is a source node
sending a control packet; otherwise, the CH stays idle. The
expected energy consumption during a contention period is
given by
E
cont
=[pP
t
T
c
+(1 p)P
i
T
c
+(N 1)P
i
T
c
+P
r
T
ch
] N
+ [pP
r
T
c
+ (1 p)P
i
T
c
] N + P
t
T
ch
. (7)
During a frame transmission, each source node sends the
data packet in its allocated slot, whereas the nonsource
nodes keep their radios turned off. The expected energy
consumption during a frame transmission is given by
E
frame
= [pP
t
T
d
+ pP
r
T
d
]N. (8)
The average energy consumption per round in the BMA
protocol can be formulated as
E
BMA
= [[pP
t
T
c
+ pP
r
T
c
+ 2(1 p)P
i
T
c
+ (N 1)P
i
T
c
+P
r
T
ch
+ pP
t
T
d
+ pP
r
T
d
] N + P
t
T
ch
] l. (9)
Energy Consumption of E-BMA Protocol: A source node
sends a control message in its respective contention slot
(unless the reservation is done by the preceding data packet
sent by the same source node in the previous frame) and
remains idle in the remaining (N 1) contention slots.
The nonsource nodes keep their radio turned off during
the entire contention period. A control message cannot
be piggybacked if there is no data packet sent in the
previous frame by the same node. The probability of a
data packet not being piggybacked is p(1 p). If a control
message is piggybacked, the source node keeps the radio
turned off in the respective contention slot, whereas the CH
node remains in idle listening mode. The expected energy
consumption during a contention period is given by
E
cont
=[p(1 p)P
t
T
c
+ P
r
T
ch
] N
+ [p(1 p)P
r
T
c
+ (1 p(1 p)) P
i
T
c
] N + P
t
T
ch
. (10)
During a frame transmission, each source node sends the
data packet in its allocated slot, whereas the nonsource
nodes keep their radios turned off. Note that piggybacking
a control message only requires 1-bit extra space in the data
packet. Hence, it is assumed that no additional power is
required for piggybacking. The expected energy consump-
tion during a frame transmission is given by
E
frame
= [pP
t
T
d
+ pP
r
T
d
]N. (11)
The average energy consumption per round in the E-BMA
protocol can be formulated as
E
EBMA
= [[p(1 p)P
t
T
c
+ p(1 p)P
r
T
c
+ (1 p(1 p)) P
i
T
c
+ P
r
T
ch
+ pP
t
T
d
+pP
r
T
d
] N + P
t
T
ch
] l. (12)
B. Transmission Latency
The maximum transmission latency of TDMA and EA-
TDMA protocols is given by T
c
+ NT
d
as both protocols have
similar frame structure. The maximum transmission latency of
BMA is T
ch
+ (T
c
+ T
d
)N. The maximum transmission la-
tency of E-BMA is 2[T
ch
+ 2(T
c
+ T
d
)N] as each data packet
has to wait for one additional frame duration before being
transmitted.
Simulation models have been developed for the TDMA, EA-
TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA protocols to verify the correctness
of the analytical models using Java programming language
and SimJava Package version 2.0 [27]. SimJava is a process-
oriented discrete-event simulation package developed by the
University of Edinburgh. The simulation results represent the
general characteristics of the existing and proposed protocols.
The simulation for each model was run for 10 000 rounds. The
expected energy consumption was calculated, averaging energy
consumption over the entire simulation period.
Both analytical and simulation results conrm that E-BMA
is more energy efcient than the other three protocols at low
to medium trafc. It is only outperformed by the TDMA and
EA-TDMA protocols when the trafc is extremely high.
In the following section, detailed analyses of the results
are presented, and protocol performances in terms of energy
dissipation are compared.
656 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO. 2, JUNE 2013
Fig. 7. Energy dissipation of EA-TDMA, BMA, and TDMA protocols as a function of probability p (N = 10 and l = 2).
VI. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
This section analyzes the performance of the proposed
E-BMA protocol in terms of energy efciency and transmission
latency. In addition, the performance of the E-BMA protocol
has been compared with that of the TDMA, EA-TDMA, and
BMA protocols in terms of energy dissipation and transmis-
sion latency. As aforementioned, the IEEE 802.15.4 standard
and ZigBee wireless module are used for the proposed MAC
protocol. The ZigBee-enabled 2.4-GHz CC2420 RF transceiver
[19] is used for this analytical and simulation analysis. For
analytical and simulation modeling purposes, it is assumed
that the power consumption is 50 mW for transmitting,
54 mW for receiving, and 50 mW for idle listening. These
power ratings are comparable with that of the CC2420 RF
transceiver specication. The data rate is 25 kb/s, and the
control packet size is 5 bytes. For simplicity, it is assumed that
T
e
= T
d
/10 and that P
e
= P
i
.
A. Energy Consumption
Energy consumption of the protocols has been evaluated and
compared for different parameter settings. For analytical and
simulation analysis, four cases have considered the estimation
of the energy dissipation of the protocols being analyzed.
Case 1: In this case, the average energy consumption of the
aforementioned four WSN MAC protocols has been de-
rived for various transmission probabilities. It is assumed
that the total number of non-CH nodes is N = 10, the
number of frames is l = 2 per round, and the data packet
size is 100 bytes.
Fig. 7(a) and (b) shows the average energy consump-
tion of the TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA proto-
cols for the transmission probability varying from p=0.1
to 1.0. The graphs reveal that the energy consumption of
the TDMA protocol is almost constant as the difference be-
tween transmission power and idle listening power is very
small. The EA-TDMA protocol consumes less energy for
low to medium trafc, i.e., from p=0.1 to 0.5, whereas it is
as good as the TDMA protocol for medium to high trafc,
1
1
Lowdata trafc refers to transmission probability, i.e., p<0.3, whereas high
data trafc refers to transmission probability, i.e., p>0.7. Medium trafc refers
to the transmission probability in between.
i.e., from p = 0.5 to 1.0. This is because, in EA-TDMA,
if a node has no data to send in its allocated slot, the
transceiver is turned off to save energy. The lower the
trafc, the higher the savings. The BMA protocol is com-
parable with the EA-TDMA protocol for low trafc, i.e.,
p = 0.1; however, it consumes more energy than TDMA
and EA-TDMA for medium to high trafc because the
contention phase in BMA consumes a certain amount
of energy, depending on the trafc load. At high traf-
c loads, the contention phase turns into an overhead
for BMA.
The proposed E-BMA protocol outperforms all three
protocols signicantly. The E-BMA is only outperformed
by TDMA and EA-TDMA when p 0.8, i.e., when the
trafc load is high. In E-BMA, the transceiver of the source
node is turned off during a contention slot when it has no
control message to send, whereas in BMA, the transceiver
is kept idle in similar situations. This allows the E-BMA
protocol to save energy both at low and medium trafc.
However, at high trafc loads, the overhead of the con-
tention phase surpasses the savings and that why E-MBA
is only outperformed by TDMA and EA-TDMA when the
trafc load is extremely high. It is to be noted that there is
a constant difference between the energy consumption of
BMA and that of E-BMA.
Case 2: In this experiment, the average energy consumption of
the aforementioned four WSNMACprotocols has been de-
rived for a different number of non-CHnodes. It is assumed
that the transmission probability is p = 0.4, the number of
frames is l = 2, and data packet size is 100 bytes.
Fig. 8(a) and (b) shows the average energy consump-
tion of TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA protocols
for the total number of non-CH nodes varying from N = 5
to 50. As the trafc load is medium (p = 0.4) in this
situation, the performance of E-BMA is the best, which
is followed by EA-TDMA and TDMA. The BMA protocol
has the maximum energy consumption at medium trafc
load. The energy consumption of the BMA protocol dra-
matically rises as N increases, signifying the overhead due
to contention. The proposed E-BMA protocol minimizes
this overhead through piggybacking at medium trafc load.
There is a moderate increase in the energy consumption in
TDMA and E-TDMA as the number of nodes increases
SHAFIULLAH et al.: WIRELESS MAC PROTOCOLS FOR RAILWAY MONITORING APPLICATIONS 657
Fig. 8. Energy dissipation of EA-TDMA, BMA, and TDMA protocols as a function of number of nodes in a cluster: N (p = 0.4, l = 10).
Fig. 9. Energy dissipation of EA-TDMA, BMA, and TDMA protocols as a function of number of frames: l (N = 20, p = 0.3).
since the overhead in the contention period is minimal for
these two protocols.
Case 3: In this case, the aforementioned four WSN MAC
protocols have been evaluated in terms of average energy
consumption for various numbers of frames per round. It is
assumed that the total number of non-CH nodes is N = 10,
the transmission probability is p = 0.3, and the data packet
size is 100 bytes.
Fig. 9(a) and (b) shows the average energy consump-
tion of TDMA, EA-TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA proto-
cols for the number of frames per round changing from
l = 2 to 20. As the graphs reveal, for medium trafc and
small number of nodes, E-BMA performs the best among
these four WSN MAC protocols. In this case, the energy
consumption of TDMA is the highest, whereas the energy
consumption of EA-TDMA and BMA is in between. Since
the number of nodes is small, the contention overhead in
BMA moderately increases, and hence, its energy con-
sumption is slightly lower than EA-TDMA. The proposed
E-BMA protocol has the least contention overhead due to
piggybacking.
Case 4: In this experiment, the impact of data packet size on the
overall energy dissipation has been measured. It is assumed
that the total number of nodes is N = 10, the transmission
probability is p = 0.4, and the number of frames is l = 2
per round.
In Fig. 10(a) and (b), it is evident that the E-BMA
protocol is the most energy-conservative protocol among
the four protocols, whereas TDMA is the most energy-
consuming protocol. However, when the data packet size is
less than 50 bytes, the energy dissipation of EA-TDMA is
similar to that of E-BMA. This is because the overhead of
the wakeup period in the EA-TDMA protocol diminishes
with the reduction in packet size. Although the energy
consumption of BMA is lower than that of TDMA and
EA-TDMA, it is as worse as TDMA for packet sizes less
than 50 bytes. The reason is the energy wastage due to idle
listening in the data transmission period of TDMA exceeds
the contention overhead of BMA when the packet size
is small.
B. Transmission Latency
The maximum transmission latency of the TDMA, EA-
TDMA, BMA, and E-BMA is presented for different numbers
of nodes and packet sizes.
Fig. 11(a) demonstrates that the maximum transmission la-
tency in all four protocols increases with the number of nodes,
as the length of a frame is directly related to the number of
nodes. The packet transmission latency of TDMA and EA-
TDMA is the lowest among all four protocols. Due to the exis-
tence of the contention period in each frame, the transmission
658 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, VOL. 14, NO. 2, JUNE 2013
Fig. 10. Energy dissipation of EA-TDMA, BMA, and TDMA protocols as a function of data packet size (N = 20, l = 10, p = 0.4).
Fig. 11. Transmission latency of EA-TDMA, BMA, and TDMA protocols for (a) different number of nodes and (b) different data packet sizes.
latency of BMA is slightly higher. The transmission latency of
E-BMA is twice that of BMA as each packet has to wait for
one additional frame duration in E-BMA. Fig. 11(b) demon-
strates that the maximum transmission latency in all protocols
increases with the data packet size, as the length of a frame is
directly related to the data packet size. Similar to the previous
case, the packet transmission latency of TDMA and EA-TDMA
is the lowest. The transmission latency of BMA is slightly
higher, and the transmission latency of E-BMA is twice that
of BMA.
Summarizing the analytical and simulation results, the fol-
lowing can be concluded.
The E-BMAprotocol is the most energy-efcient protocol,
particularly in the case of low and medium trafc applica-
tions. However, at extremely high trafc conditions, the
EA-TDMA protocol performs better.
The E-BMA protocol is more energy efcient than the
other three protocols for any number of sensor nodes in
a cluster when the trafc load is medium.
The E-BMA protocol dissipates less energy than the other
three protocols, regardless of the number of frames per
round for medium trafc.
The performance of the E-BMA protocol is superior to
the other three protocols when data packet size is equal to
or greater than 50 bytes. For small data packet size (less
than 50 bytes), the energy dissipation of EA-TDMA is
comparable with E-BMA.
Although the transmission latency of E-BMA is higher
than other protocols, it will not impact the system
performance signicantly when the number of nodes
is small.
VII. CONCLUSION
The performance of rail vehicles running on railway tracks is
governed by the dynamic behaviors of railway wagons, partic-
ularly in the cases of lateral instability and track irregularities.
In this paper, considering the trafc conditions of the intended
application, an energy-efcient WSN MAC protocol has been
investigated to monitor typical dynamic behavior of railway
wagons. Simulation and mathematical models have been devel-
oped for the proposed E-BMA protocol, and its performance
has been compared with the EA-TDMA, TDMA, and BMA
protocols in terms of energy efciency.
Analytical and simulation results show that the E-BMA and
EA-TDMA protocols outperform both the TDMA and BMA
protocols for all trafc conditions. The results revealed that
the E-BMA protocol outperformed other protocols for low to
medium trafc, whereas the EA-TDMA protocol outperformed
the TDMA and BMA protocols for medium to high trafc.
The E-BMA protocol is only outperformed by EA-TDMA and
TDMA protocols for high trafc.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their
valuable and informative suggestions that improved the quality
of this paper.
SHAFIULLAH et al.: WIRELESS MAC PROTOCOLS FOR RAILWAY MONITORING APPLICATIONS 659
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G. M. Shaullah (M12) received the B.Sc.
Eng. degree in electrical and electronics engineer-
ing from Chittagong University of Engineering
and Technology, Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the
M. Eng. degree from Central Queensland University
(CQUniversity), Rockhampton, Australia. He is cur-
rently working toward the Ph.D. degree with the
School of Engineering and Built Environment,
CQUniversity.
He is the author of 25 referred book chapters,
journal papers, and conference papers. His research
interests include networking and data communication, sensor networking,
power engineering, renewable energy, smart grid technology, and computer-
aided technology.
Salahuddin A. Azad received the B.Sc. Eng. de-
gree in computer science and engineering from
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Tech-
nology, Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1999 and the Ph.D.
degree in information and technology from Monash
University, Clayton, Australia, in 2007.
He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fel-
low with the Power Engineering Group, Central
Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia. He
is the author of 17 refereed conference papers, IEEE
journal papers, and book chapters. His major re-
search interests include renewable energy, smart grid, image processing, ma-
chine learning, data mining, and network security.
A. B. M. Shawkat Ali (SM10) received the Ph.D.
degree in information technology from Monash Uni-
versity, Clayton, Australia.
He is currently with the School of Information and
Communication Technology, Central Queensland
University, Rockhampton, Australia. In particular,
he is currently leading a research group on com-
putational intelligence. He is the author of more
than 100 research papers in international journals
and conferences, as well as several book chapters
and books. His research interests include computa-
tional intelligence, data mining, smart grids, cloud computing, and biomedical
engineering.
Dr. Ali is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of
Emerging Technologies in Sciences and Engineering.