TDBS: A time division beacon scheduling mechanism for ZigBee cluster-tree wireless sensor networks Synchronization is a challenging and important issue for time-sensitive Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) since it requires a mutual spatiotemporal coordination between the nodes. In that concern, the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee protocols embody promising technologies for WSNs, but are still ambiguous on how to efficiently build synchronized multiple-cluster networks, specifically for the case of cluster-tree topologies. In fact, the current IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee specifications restrict the synchronization to beacon-enabled (by the generation of periodic beacon frames) star networks, while they support multi-hop networking in mesh topologies, but with no synchronization. Even though both specifications mention the possible use of cluster-tree topologies, which combine multi-hop and synchronization features, the description on how to effectively construct such a network topology is missing. This paper tackles this issue by unveiling the ambiguities regarding the use of the cluster-tree topology and proposing a synchronization mechanism based on Time Division Beacon Scheduling (TDBS) to build cluster-tree WSNs. In addition, we propose a methodology for efficiently managing duty-cycles in every cluster, ensuring the fairest use of bandwidth resources. The feasibility of the TDBS mechanism is clearly demonstrated through an experimental test-bed based on our open-source implementation of the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee protocols.

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