Proposal and evaluation of a hybrid---scheduled and random---medium access control protocol.
Underwater networks allow investigation of many areas of the world not easily accessed by humans, but offer interesting challenges to device and protocol designers due to the unique channel conditions present when using acoustic communications. The high transmit power of acoustic transceivers makes the medium access protocol a primary focus point for reducing energy consumption in energy limited underwater devices. Scheduled protocols use very little power by eliminating collisions, but cannot adapt to changing traffic conditions in the same way as random protocols. We attempt to bridge these two ideas by dividing time into scheduled and unscheduled access periods in order to yield the benefits of each protocol. We show that this technique increases the bits delivered per energy unit in many cases of interest. Additionally, the hybrid technique provides low latency for a wider range of traffic rates than either of the two protocols when considered individually. We also investigate some of the design tradeoffs to consider when using a hybrid protocol.Download Paper PDF Format ~373 kB