Multi-channel MAC protocol with Directional Antennas in wireless ad hoc networks

IEEE 802.11 Distributed Coordination Function (DCF) is based on Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance (CSMA/CA). However, the CSMA-based access protocol with omnidirectional antennas can cause the serious unfairness or flow starvation. By exploiting the multiple channels and using the directional antennas, nodes located in each other’s vicinity may communicate simultaneously. This helps to increase the spatial reuse of the wireless channel and thus increase the network performance.

In this paper, we propose a Multi-channel MAC protocol with Directional Antennas (MMAC-DA) that adopts IEEE 802.11 Power Saving Mechanism (PSM) and exploits multiple channel resources and directional antennas. Nodes have to exchange control packets during the Announcement Traffic Indication Message (ATIM) window to select data channels and determine the beam directions which are used to exchange data packets during the data window. The simulation results show that MMAC-DA can improve the network performance in terms of aggregate throughput, packet delivery ratio and energy efficiency.