Skip to Main Content
IEEE 802.15.4 is a new standard to address the need for low-rate low-power low-cost wireless networking. We provide in this paper one of the first simulation-based performance evaluations of the new medium access protocol in IEEE 802.15.4, focusing on its beacon-enabled mode for a star-topology network. We describe its key features such as the superframe structure, which allows devices to access channels in a contention access period (CAP) or a collision free period (CFP) and the beacon-based synchronization mechanism. Our performance evaluation study reveals some of the key throughput-energy-delay tradeoffs inherent in this MAC protocol. We provide an analysis comparing the energy costs of beacon tracking and non-tracking modes for synchronization, showing that the optimum choice depends upon the combination of duty cycles and data rates.