Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Mobile Information Systems
Volume 2015, Article ID 398637, 9 pages
Research Article

Contiki-Based IEEE 802.15.4 Channel Capacity Estimation and Suitability of Its CSMA-CA MAC Layer Protocol for Real-Time Multimedia Applications

1Institute of Telematics, University of Lübeck, Building 64, 2nd and 3rd Floor, Ratzerburger Allee 160, 23562 Lübeck, Germany
2Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5B6

Received 9 September 2013; Accepted 24 February 2014

Academic Editor: David Taniar

Copyright © 2015 Muhammad Omer Farooq and Thomas Kunz. 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.


Real-time multimedia applications require quality of service (QoS) provisioning in terms of bounds on delay and packet loss along with soft bandwidth guarantees. The shared nature of the wireless communication medium results in interference. Interference combined with the overheads, associated with a medium access control (MAC) protocol, and the implementation of a networking protocol stack limit the available bandwidth in IEEE 802.15.4-based networks and can result in congestion, even if the transmission rates of nodes are well below the maximum bandwidth supported by an underlying communication technology. Congestion degrades the performance of admitted real-time multimedia flow(s). Therefore, in this paper, we experimentally derive the IEEE 802.15.4 channel capacity using an unslotted CSMA-CA MAC protocol. We experimentally derive channel capacity for two cases, that is, when the CSMA-CA protocol is working without ACKs and when it is working with ACKs. Moreover, for both cases, we plot the relationship of offered data load with delay and packet loss rate. Simulation results demonstrate that the parameters that affect the choice of a CSMA-CA MAC layer protocol are end-to-end delay and packet loss requirements of a real-time multimedia flow, data load within the interference range of transmitters along the forwarding path, and length of the forwarding path.