A collision-free graph coloring MAC protocol for underwater sensor networks

Faisal Abdulaziz Alfouzan*, Alireza Shahrabi-Farahani, Seyed Mohammad Ghoreyshi, Tuleen Boutaleb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
113 Downloads (Pure)


Employing contention-based medium access control (MAC) protocols in underwater sensor networks (UWSNs) is typically costly. This is due to the unique characteristics of underwater acoustic channels, such as long propagation delay, limited bandwidth, and high bit error rate. As a consequence, the contention-based (handshaking and random access-based) MAC protocols do not perform as efficiently as expected. The collision-free approach is therefore considered to achieve high performance by avoiding the collisions at the MAC layer in order to improve energy efficiency, throughput, and fairness. In this paper, we propose, inspired by the graph coloring techniques, a novel energy-conserving and collision-free reservation-based MAC protocol, called GC-MAC, for UWSNs. GC-MAC employs time-division multiple access (TDMA)-like approach by assigning separate time-slots, colors, to every individual sensor node in every two-hop neighborhood. Sensors with the same colors can thus transmit at the same time with no chance of collision. GC-MAC is also able to address the near-far effect, spatial-temporal uncertainty, and hidden/exposed node problems, without requiring code-division multiple access (CDMA) or power adjustment for collision avoidance. The network coverage and connectivity is then discussed to show the effectiveness of using cubes to cover a 3D underwater environment. Our extensive performance study shows that GC-MAC performs well by avoiding collisions to achieve better throughput and energy-efficiency performance compared with those of contention-based protocols. There is also a significant improvement in terms of packet delivery ratio and fairness among the nodes under different operational conditions
Original languageEnglish
Article number8675287
Pages (from-to)39862-39878
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2019


  • underwater sensor networks (UWSNs)
  • medium access control (MAC)
  • collision-free MAC protocols
  • graph coloring technique
  • distributed clustering approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Computer Science(all)


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