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Wireless Pers Commun

DOI 10.1007/s11277-017-4071-0

Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques
in Wireless Body Area Networks

Pradnya H. Ghare1 • A. G. Kothari1 

Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Abstract Wireless body area network (WBAN) is a network of RF enabled wearable and
implantable sensor nodes. Due to use of these networks in healthcare applications, relia-
bility is an important metric. However, due to coexistence of other wireless technologies as
well as presence of many WBANs in the same area, interference can persist. This inter-
ference can degrade reliability. In this regard, this paper presents the analysis of the
interference issue in body area networks. Also this paper has made an effort to suggest an
algorithm for interference mitigation using data rate parameter and thereby trying to
improve the interference scenario in terms of packet loss ratio in WBANs.

Keywords Wireless body area network  Interference  Interference mitigation 
Healthcare  Packet loss

1 Introduction

With advances in sensor technology, there is a large increase in use of wearable devices. A
survey in [1] has predicted a tremendous increase up to 480 million in the number of
wearable devices till 2018. Wireless body area network is a network of wearable devices
worn by human being for measurement of physiological parameters. These networks
operate with Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band of frequencies. Due to use of
ISM frequency band, other wireless devices are expected to coexist with WBAN. This
coexistence can create interference which could hamper reliability of these networks.
Considering various applications of BAN in public places such as hospitals, markets,
public transport systems, marathons and first responders system [2], it appears that there is
a large possibility of more than one BAN in the vicinity of each other. Due to mobile

& Pradnya H. Ghare
VNIT, Nagpur, India


When all the sensors broadcast the signals. Kothari nature of WBAN. in high interference scenario such negotiations cannot take place practically. Therefore it is very important to mitigate this inter- ference in order to be assured of a reliable data communication. As WBANs are used in healthcare applications. This paper has tried to show the impact of various parameters on signal quality for multiple coexisting WBAN environments. there is a possibility of co-location and co-channel interference. P. Interference effects observed and suggested interference mitigation mechanism is presented in Sect. Finally Sect. H. duty cycles and modulation schemes [7]. 4.99 GHz has been proposed in [6]. G. This also causes packet collision and energy waste which affects WBAN QoS. 1 Interference in WBAN 123 . Game theory based approaches rely on negotiation between BANs to reach a Nash equilibrium. two BANs can concurrently transmit the signals using the same frequency channel. Due to use of unlicensed frequency band such as ISM (Inductrial. 2 Related Work Interference analysis in wireless body area networks has assumed lot of significance in current healthcare scenario. Here in [7].94–4. Section 3 discusses about factors contributing to signal quality degradation. A. A mitigation mechanism based on the perfor- mance of modified and modulated hermite pulses (MHP) for narrowband interference mitigation in the 4. it is important to know about impact of various parameters for generation of interference. Following section presents related work. 5 concludes the results of the work. In this regard. 5]. This paper has tried to suggest priority based adaptive data rate mechanism for interference mitigation in coex- isting BANs. Another interference mitigation method is based on variable data rates. [4. Some of the mitigation methods suggested by different researchers includes different approaches like use of game theory. the metric of choice to measure interference and improve the interference scenario has Fig. Wireless link between a sensor node and coordinator is also affected by rapid movements of body parts which causes performance degradation of the desired signal. 1. scheduling and switching approaches etc. loss of data will be dangerous partic- ularly for critical medical applications and the purpose of use of WBAN for healthcare applications will no longer persist. This is shown in the Fig. Ghare. there is a possibility that main signal of interest may superimpose with the interfering signal from other BANs. However. Scientific and Medical). This paper is an extended version of [3].

A distributed TDMA-based beacon interval shifting scheme is suggested in [9] to reduce beacon collision in BANs..Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques in Wireless. Some of them to mention are mobility. path loss.. been SINR. a time hopping code assignment strategy is used to improve Body Area Network performance and a strategy to increase the lifetime of the network is also introduced. A pictorial representation of various factors contributing to interference is shown in Fig. Fig. This is achieved through carrier sensing before beacon transmission. Packet error rate (PER) is the ratio of number of wrongly received data packets to the total number of transmitted packets. shadowing. channel frequency. 3 Factors Responsible for Generation of Interference The various sources for generation of interference in WBAN arise from Physical as well as MAC layer parameters. The interference can be represented by following equation.1 Quantitative Measurement of Inter-User Interference To quantitatively measure the signal degradation due to Inter-User Interference. 2. This is a function of bit error rate which in turn depends on modulation scheme and Signal to Interference Noise Ratio. 3. 2 Factors responsible for interference generation 123 . In [8]. placement of nodes. packet error rate (PER) is estimated. The proposed algorithm leads to better SINR when compared to its unmiti- gated scenario. access mechanism at MAC layer etc.

Kothari X I¼ ðSj ðtÞÞðPr ðDi. • The mean l and Standard deviation r values in evaluating BER varies according to the physical position and location of sensor where it is implanted on BAN user [12]. path loss at a distance d can be represented by PLðdÞ ¼ Gda ð2Þ where G is System Loss Constant. frequency. All these factors are responsible for generation of interference in WBAN. According to Friss model [10]. From Eq. G. Di (t) is the distance between Coordinator and Sensor of main BAN of Interest i.j (t)) is dependent on many factors such as path loss. So l ¼ 0:75. the average Bit Error Rate is given by rffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 1 2Eb BERi ¼ erfc ð4Þ 2 No Z tmax Z xmax pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 1 BERi ¼ erfc SINRi ðtÞ PðXÞdxdt ð5Þ tmin xmin 2 P(X) is the Probability Distribution function. At a given time instant t.j ðtÞÞÞ ð1Þ j6¼i Pr(Di. distance between these BANs. the PER of a BAN can be calculated.j (t)) is the power received from sensors of coexisting BANs to coordinator of main BAN which represents interference and Sj (t) represents presence or absence of coexisting BAN. Pr(Di. ððm þ kÞðr þ m=2ÞÞ represents a binomial coefficient with (r þ m=2) combinations out of a set of (m þ k) elements. P(x) is determined using Log-Normal fading model. Thus SINR of BAN i is given by. fading etc. Thus PER will vary according to number of interfering BANs. Assuming Offset Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (OQPSK) to be the modulation scheme being utilized. Pr ðDi ðtÞÞ SINRi ðtÞ ¼ P ð3Þ ðS j6¼i j ðtÞÞðPr ðDi. r ¼ 0:80 is considered. path loss exponent. Ghare. P. (6). mþkm2   X mþk rþm2 mþkðrþm2 Þ PERi ¼ m BERi ð1  BERi Þ ð6Þ r¼1 rþ2 Here. 123 . H. Following section shows simulation results using Matlab for packet error rate.j (t) is the distance between coordinator of BAN i and sensor node of BAN j at time t and Pn is the Background Noise Power. Di. Parameter and their values under Considerations:- • Since Log-Normal Distribution is the best possible fit for almost all of the BSN scenarios [11]. Subsequently. The concurrent data transmissions of BANs cause interference to the neighboring BANs. a refers to Path Loss Exponent and d is the distance between transmitter and receiver. fading and modulation scheme. the Packet Error Rate is given as follows.j ðtÞÞÞ þ Pn Here. A. the transmission status of neighboring BAN is denoted by Sj(t):Sj(t) ¼ 1 if the transmitting node is active otherwise 0. path loss exponent. distance. It is the optimum value because all the possible real time values of r and l are centered on this value.

3. From the Fig. PER is relatively less at main BAN. PER is plotted against number of interferers as shown in Fig. • BANs are power hungry and the range of transmittable powers available in BANs are from [-25.Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques in Wireless. It is obvious from the Fig. Mainly. However in BAN applications such as waiting hall of a hospital.2 PER Versus Distance of Interferers Here the term interfering distances refer to the average of distances of Interfering BANs (IBANs) in meters. 3 that closer the IBANs. and 0 dBm]. It means that more Packet Loss will be there at the main BAN if the power of IBANs dominate that of main BAN sensors.3 PER Versus Number of Interfering BANs For different values of transmission powers. acceptable level of PER  0:1 can be obtained for distances greater than 3 m. the path loss exponent values were taken as 3. The effect of transmission powers of Interfering BANs is shown in Fig... larger will be the PER at main BAN. 5. As the attenuation of signals from the same BAN is according to on-body path loss model and that from Interfering signals is according to the Inter-Body path loss model. When tp is more. it can be deduced that. 3. 4.38 for on-body and (2–3) for Inter-Body links [13]. 3. this plot tells what should be the transmission power of main BAN sensors so that more number of BAN users can be accommodated in given vicinity. 3 Variation of PER as a function of distance of interferers 123 . • In any typical BAN scenario. managing the distance between BANs is not possible. the value of PLE roughly ranges from 2 to 4. These values were observed keeping the average Inter-BAN distance as 3 m. PER will be above threshold ð  0:1Þ. Fig. Hence if density of BANs within a small area is more. tp refers to transmission power of main BAN sensors.

This leads to less packet drop. G. Kothari Fig. A. Ghare. 6 that with an increase of Inter-body PLE there is a significant amount of decrease in the PER. All the above individual plots demonstrate the variation of PER with respect to each of the parameters. finally less PER. An Inter-body PLE greater than 2. P. 123 . This decrease in PER is because with more Inter-body PLE. H. 4 Variation of PER as a function of transmission power Fig. 5 Dependence of PER on the number of interfering BANs 3.4 PER Versus Path Loss Exponent (PLE) It can be seen from Fig. Combining the above results gives an idea of the trade-off among these parameters in maintaining a minimum packet error rate allowing a reliable data transmission.6 leads to a negligible interference with the main BAN signals. more will be the attenuation of Interfering signal before interfering the main BAN signals and subsequently a relatively weak signal interferes with the main BAN.

A thorough comparison of the sent file from the sensor and the reconstructed file at the sink node will depict the extent of effect of interference in this scenario. 8. It can be argued that the difference between sent and reconstructed file is obviously due to the packet loss due to unmitigated interference. 7 Sent ECG file from sensor to sink node 123 . the packet loss ratio (PLR) in this scenario is approximately 9. Figure 7 depicts the sent ECG signal data file from one particular sensor to the sink node. At the sink node or server.e same center frequency). The signal files. To investigate this particular case. which is shown in Fig. The sent file is captured at the sink node and reconstructed there. has been reconstructed there to get back the sent file. which can be sent by sensors to the sink node.5 Observing the Effects of Interference Using File Transfer Model In the previous section. 6 Impact of PLE on the PER values 3. Fig. While the statistics are comprehensive.Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques in Wireless. Fig. it does not show the extent of the effect of the interference in real time files. after being received by the sink node. a certain number of packets have been dropped. ECG signal files are sent by the sensors to the sink node through the same channel (i.09%. projected in 7 bit ASCII format and converted to hexadecimal representation. the quantitative analysis of interference in terms of PER has been shown. Due to this. a scenario using four sensor nodes and a cluster head (in 4  1 arrangement) which represent a cluster each was created in Netsim simulator... for example ECG signal of a patient.

data rate of a particular sensor changes depending on number of packet drops as well as priority of sensor node. G. Algorithm: Run Time Adaptive Data Rate Required: M data rates. D¼ ðRmax  RminÞ=M. emotion status etc. Fig. 3. P. R ¼ R1D. As WBANs are used for monitoring different physiological parameters such as body temperature. It is given below. A. an algorithm is used. Send Packet. usually denote the varying data rate of a particular device depending upon fulfillment of certain criteria. Kothari 4 Adaptive Data Rate Based Interference Mitigation Adaptive Data Rate. u represents current packet loss ratio(PLR) and u€ represents target packet loss ratio. R ¼ R1 2. how and which data rate is going to be used in the Run Time Adaptive Data Rate mechanism. d represents a miniscule amount. 6. each one has a different priority. end if. The criteria upon which these adjustments are done are exclusively user defined so that it can be changed based upon application. In this case. end if. Rmax represents maximum data rate and Rmin is the minimum data rate. Initial: Rmax ¼ R1 (default Data Rate). The process of variation of data rate is carried out in runtime and the adjustment is done automatically by the sensors itself. Let M represents number of data rate levels. 8 Reconstructed ECG file at sink node 123 . H. heart rate. if (priority=High) then 5. else 7. R ¼ R1  2D. 9. Ghare. To determine when. ECG or EEG sensors seems to have more important information than sensors indicating body temperature or blood glucose level and hence a WBAN will be consisting of a set of high priority and low priority sensor devices. 10. then 4. Priority type Required: u€ (target Packet Loss Ratio) Initial: u (current Packet Loss Ratio) = 0. If u  u€þdandR [ Rmin. For instance. 8. 1. environmental parameters or user expectations from the system. D represents the step size in data rate used in kbps.

So. 150 and 100 Kbps other than the default data rate of 250 Kbps. Calculate u.Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques in Wireless. Rmin and M. test cases to procure observations are obtained using the algorithm. 123 . The values of these power levels will have to be chosen after considering certain constraints. It is worth noting that M. 11. The rationale behind the adaptive power level mechanism is that if a sensor node which is dropping packets switches its transmission power from one particular level to another one. packets are sent at default data rate and the resultant current PLR is calculated subsequently during run-time. the range of the data rate values (e. The step size is calculated based on Rmax. so that the solution covers higher degrees of packet drops and thereby reducing the PLR. 9). 12. u. End.Hence as per the above algorithm. These constraints include the permissible Specific Absorption rate (SAR) values for Body Area Applications. In this way. the corresponding interfering nodes will cease to interfere. For example. Initially. Use of adaptive transmission power mechanism can reduce packet loss. the initial energy and power handling capabilities of the sensors. Rmax. The values of the data rates are grouped along with different target PLRs (represented in absolute number of packets dropped) for the sake of comprehensive observations. The values of data rate levels (M) and target packet loss ratio are dependent on par- ticular healthcare application. 3 different data rates have been chosen to switch upon. namely 200. in the given scenario in this work any sensor node can switch from its basic transmitting power level of 10–20 or 100 mW subject to fulfillment of certain packet loss criteria. If (Packets != Null). the power levels at which the sensors will switch to for transmitting packets are to be decided by the user. The algorithm ends when the number of packets to be transmitted by a device reaches zero. required precision in terms of mitigation and also on hardware and software constraints of sensor nodes. Now. if this PLR overhauls the target PLR.. In this work. where mitigation mechanism is applied. As long as the current PLR is lesser than target PLR. Adaptive Power Level based interference mitigation: The interference analysis section indicates dependence of transmission power of sensor nodes on packet loss. then 13. from 250 to 100 Kbps) have been chosen in this work. Go to Step 3.. in this case. then the data rate is adjusted by decreasing it by the amount of step size D as long as it is greater than pre-defined minimum data rate. the packet drop limits for switching to a lower data rate has been made gradually more stringent. u€. Rmin are all changeable or user defined and can be set in an application specific manner. the data rates and the corresponding number of packet drops (representative of PLR) for each test case is chosen. we can arrive at a more robust solution to achieve a better PLR and also compare one particular scheme with respect to its previous one in terms of PLR (as shown in Fig. This two-step strategy is followed in every case mentioned. In this mechanism. 14. As we move from Case 1 to Case 5. The current PLR (u) is set as 0 and maximum data rate (Rmax) is equated to default data rate. Considering the different healthcare parameters such as ECG. the number of data rate levels (M) and target packet loss ratio u€ is required from the user.g. M comes to be three. The next step in this mechanism is to optimize the packet drop ratio along with the data rate even more.EEG and EMG etc. Based on the sensor wise statistic of unmitigated scenario and priority of sensor nodes.

Initially performance results for single BAN without using any mitigation techniques have been shown in Table 1. 150 kbps after 30 packet drops by a sensor) Case 3. • Each WBAN consists of 9 sensors. G. Ghare. 100 Kbps and 100 mw of transmitter power after 10 Packet Drops by a sensor) Table 1 Packet delivery statistics of unmitigated scenario Packet delivery statistics at sink node Number of packets transmitted PLR System runtime(Sec) 10. A. Simulation environment created in Netsim is as follows. Five different test cases for observation is made by grouping various data rates with packet drop criteria of any sensor node (representing PLR) to examine the results of mitigated scenario. including one sensor cum cluster head and 8 other sensors to measure vital parameters. • An area of 25  20 sqm is chosen. This is followed by results of mitigation techniques for the same. 100 Kbps after 15 packet drops by a sensor) Case 4. Case 1. The respective cases are.1. H. 100 Kbps after 10 packet drops by a sensor) Case 5. P.405 GHz). Adaptive Data Rate-I (200 Kbps after 10 Packet Drops. • A sink node (equivalent to a server application enabled device) is placed in the same environment which receives all the data from the sensor node. Adaptive Data Rate and Adaptive Power Level (150 Kbps and 20 mw of transmitter power after 5 Packet Drops. consisting of 6 WBANs corresponding to six patients. Adaptive Data Rate-III (150 Kbps after 5 Packet Drops. Kothari Fig. • The default data rate of the uplink from sensor to cluster head and then to sink node is 250 Kbps.1 Results 4.The channel is centered at ISM band frequencies (2. Adaptive Data Rate-II (150 Kbps after 8 Packet Drops.530 3:86% 100 123 .1 Parameters Used in Simulation As discussed in previous section five different test cases are simulated using the suggested algorithm. 9 Statistics of interference mitigation techniques 4. Default Scenario (250 Kbps data rate throughout) Case 2.

after a certain point.. S. any more change in threshold metric will result in deterioration. M. 123 . but on the contrary in Case 4. Special session on Combedded systems. interference level is very high even for few number of coexisting BANs. Comparative effect of the mechanisms on interference can be deduced from the essentially it is nothing but an optimization technique. In 1st workshop on body area network technology and applications (pp. 4. the mechanism of Case 3 has been altered to optimize further and it does not improve the Packet Loss Ratio. Case 3 and Case 5 has improved the PLR from its previous scenario. Run Time Adaptive Data Rate and Run Time Adaptive Power Level can be used simultaneously to reduce the packet loss rate. It is expected that the combination of common manual calibration techniques and the mitigation mechanisms would be able to eradicate Inter WBAN interference to a large extent. In The 18th international symposium on WIRELESS PERSONAL MUL- TIMEDIA COMMUNICATIONS (WPMC). when used both separately and simultaneously. 5 Conclusion This paper addresses the interference issue in WBAN via quantitative analysis and also demonstrates simulation based results... Inter-user interference in body sensor networks: Preliminary investigation and an infrastructure based solution. a marginally different and evidently improved mecha- nism is used. H. In this particular case. (2009).85.. in Case 4. transmission power of sensors as well as path loss exponent have a great impact on level of interference.77. the deterioration of Packet Loss Ratio is 8. B. 3540). Moitra. A. References 1. Interference analysis and mitigation techniques in wireless body area network. Then. So. A. and 0. because while migrating from Case 4 to Case 5 the data rate related metrics are kept exactly the same. M. WBAN is considered here for healthcare applica- tions. and 0. 1–8). experimenta- tion and observation. suggested mitigation technique will be tested on actual hardware. 9. Analysis shows that number of BANs. 3. So. G. Run Time Adaptive Data Rate along with a Run Time Adaptive Power Level mitigation mechanism has been used for interference mitigation. It can be seen that Case2. PLR has deteriorated. Natarajan.23% of PLR. (2014).30% of the PLR. This mechanism improves the interference rate by nearly 10 percent. de Silva.5.17% of total number of packets sent towards sink node. P..ABIResearch. In Sixth international workshop on wearable and implantable body sensor networks (p. Ghare. In Case 3. 2. The improvement upon its immediate preceding case here is 9. These two mechanisms. & Kothari. PHASER: Physiological Health Assessment System for Emergency Responders. & Motani. 0. So. as can be observed from figure. it is clear that an optimization of data rate and threshold metric values are required after extensive implementation. It can be seen that Case 2 is the first bit of interference mitigation mechanism applied on the scenario.56% of PLR) over its previous case is highest when compared to improvement of other cases over its immediate previous one.It appears that for distances upto 2 m. So. (2011). by more than 26 percent (Almost 1% of PLR) when compared to normal unmitigated scenario. The mitigation techniques. Batalin. and 0. exclusively the effect of the Run Time Adaptive Power Level scheme has been shown.Interference Analysis and Mitigation Techniques in Wireless. In Case 5. the improvement of Case-2 (14. www. improve the Packet Loss Ratio and hence the interference.In the future.

-C. Braem. Pradnya H. International Journal of Wireless information Networks. B. Rough Sets. body area networks. Yang. W.. W. A. She has 10 years of teaching experience and has authored around 08 publications. A beacon interval shifting scheme for interference mitigation in body area networks. C. Characteri- zation of on-body communication channel and energy efficient topology design for wireless body area networks. (2009). Nagpur. B. K. Vermeeren. A. D. S. 193–200. D. UWB body area network coexistence by interference mitigation. Kothari 5. E. Ren. Wu. Smith. Rout. G. 933–945.. 12. 10930–10946.D.. In 8th IEEE international conference on wireless and mobile computing. Ghare is currently working as Assistant professor in Electronics and Communication Engineering Department of Visves- varaya National Institute of Technology.. & Xu. (2012). He has authored around 25 publications and has contributed book chapters for reputed publica- tions. & Eom. G. L. Nardis. India. Latre. Balanis. F. D. L. T. Yao. D.. D. NewYork. Antenna theory. He received his Ph. in 2010 from VNIT. 12. 10. Her research interests are wireless sensor networks.). 11. 77. In International conference on ultra-wideband (ICUWB 2009). He is also one of the coordinators for Center of Excellence of COMMBEDDED SYS- TEMS: Hybridization of Communications and Embedded Systems under World Bank assisted project of TEQIP 1. M.. Ge. G. Kothari is currently working as Associate Professor in Elec- tronics and Communication Engineering Department of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology. Wireless Personal Communications.. 97–117. Domenicali. 19. (2014). 13. Doo-Seop. Reusens. B. & Das. L.. 6. (2012). & Benedetto. IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine. 34–40). D.. Miniutti.. S... Sun. Applications of Rough Set based signal processing are his special interest.. Nagpur. 8. E. & Hanlen. Xia. (2013).. 7. A. & Wong. 55(5). Interference mitigation using adaptive schemes in body area networks. Nagpur. W. He has 20 years of experience in teaching. Joseph. (1982). Ghare. net- working and communications (pp. A light-weight inter-user interference mitigation method in body sensor networks. 256–261). 9. 123 .. Kim. Kim. Jin-Woo. 13. K.. & Sayrafian-Pour. IEEE Antennas and Propogation Magazines. P. et al. Tanghe. A.. analysis and design (1st ed. H. G. Z. Communication and antennas are his field of interests..2. In International conference on autonomic and trusted computing (pp.1. G. W. 1343–1361. J.. Lamahewa. (2012). B. Interference mitigation in wireless body area networks using modified and modulated mhp. India. (2009).. Sensors. Propogation models for body- area networks: A survey and new outlook. DISG: Decentralized inter-user interference suppression in body sensor nerworks with non-cooperative game. Y. NY: Harper and Row. (2010). W.