Document Type

Technical Report


Computer Science and Engineering

Publication Date






Technical Report Number



Home area networks (HANs) promise to enable sophisticated home automation applications such as smart energy usage and assisted living. However, recent empirical study of HAN reliability in real-world residential environments revealed significant challenges to achieving reliable performance in the face of significant and variable interference from a multitude of coexisting wireless devices. We propose the Adaptive and Robust Channel Hopping (ARCH) protocol: a lightweight receiveroriented protocol which handles the dynamics of residential environments by reactively channel hopping when channel conditions have degraded. ARCH has several key features. First, ARCH is an adaptive protocol that channel-hops based on changes in channel quality observed in real time. Second, ARCH is a distributed protocol that selects channels on a per-link basis, due to the large link-to-link variations in channel quality observed under empirical study. Third, ARCH is designed to be robust and lightweight. ARCH uses a practical hand-shaking approach to handle channel desynchronization and an efficient slidingwindow scheme that does not involve expensive calculations or modeling, and can be reasonably implemented on memoryconstrained wireless sensor platforms. Fourth, ARCH introduces minimal communication overhead for applications where packet acknowledgements are already enabled. We evaluate our approach through real deployment in real-life apartments with residents’ daily activity. Our results demonstrate that ARCH can reduce the number of packet retransmissions by a median of 42.3% compared to using a single, fixed wireless channel, and can enable up to a 2.2 improvement in delivery rate on the most unreliable links in our experiment. Under a multi-hop routing scenario, ARCH achieved an average 31.6% reduction in radio usage, by reducing the ETX along each path by up to 83.6%. Due to ARCH’s lightweight reactive design, most links achieve this improvement in reliability with 10 or fewer channel hops per day.


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