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Propagation Models for Body-Area Networks: A Survey and New Outlook

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4 Author(s)
Smith, D.B. ; Canberra Res. Lab., Nat. ICT Australia (NICTA), Canberra, ACT, Australia ; Miniutti, D. ; Lamahewa, T.A. ; Hanlen, L.W.

This article is a review of wireless body-area network (BAN) channel models, with observations about the selection of the best channel model in terms of both first- and second-order statistics. Particular insight into the dominant factors that affect propagation for body-area networks is given. Important second-order statistical measures are discussed, where coherence times and fade durations are of particular interest. The IEEE 802.15.6 standard is used as a basis for the review, with observations and insights given about body-area networks. In this context, narrowband and ultra-wideband (UWB) models are summarized for different measurement environments and carrier frequencies. On-body, in-body, and off-body propagation models are discussed where appropriate. In general, lognormal fading or gamma fading models of the body-area network channel are most applicable. A goodness-of-fit criterion that directly trades off model error and complexity is presented, which gives a new outlook for channel modeling. By this new outlook it is demonstrated that through significant simplification of individual link propagation models for body-area networks, it is possible to combine link models with only a few parameters. Common misconceptions regarding the appropriateness of applying traditional path-loss measures to these short-range networks are then exposed. Finally, the use of relays, which is an option in IEEE 802.15.6, is shown to be important for maintaining reliability in various body-area-network propagation scenarios.

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 5 )