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Recently, various energy harvesting techniques from ambient environments were proposed as alternative methods for powering sensor nodes, which convert the ambient energy from environments into electricity to power sensor nodes. However, those techniques are not applicable to the wireless sensor networks (WSNs) in the environment with no ambient energy source. To overcome this problem, an RF energy transfer method was proposed to power wireless sensor nodes. However, the RF energy transfer method also has a problem of unfairness among sensor nodes due to the significant difference between their energy harvesting rates according to their positions. In this paper, we propose a medium access control (MAC) protocol for WSNs based on RF energy transfer. The proposed MAC protocol adaptively manages the duty cycle of sensor nodes according to their the amount of harvested energy as well as the contention time of sensor nodes considering fairness among them. Through simulations, we show that our protocol can achieve a high degree of fairness, while maintaining duty cycle of sensor nodes appropriately according to the amount of their harvested energy.
Date of Conference: 15-17 June 2011