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Bridging Between IEEE 802.15.6 and IEEE 802.11e for Wireless Healthcare Networks
Saeed Rashwand and Jelena Mišic

While many of the technologies envisaged for use in wireless healthcare systems are available today little is known about their interplay. The collected medical data in a Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) must be transferred to a medical center for further processing and storage. Therefore, second wireless hop is needed before access to the wired network is achieved. The main focus of this research is to investigate the performance of interconnection between patient’s IEEE 802.15.6-based WBAN and the stationary (e.g., hospital room or ward) IEEE 802.11e-based Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). We introduce a Quality of Service (QoS)-based bridging mechanism between the WBANs and the WLAN to interconnect human body monitoring networks and the WLAN access point. We use strong prioritizing parameters among 8 traffic priorities in WBAN as recommended by the standard. However, we deploy Arbitrary Inter-Frame Space (AIFS) for differentiating the WLAN Access Categories (ACs) to provide relatively mild differentiation and decrease the frame collision probability. By employing simulation models we investigate the impacts of network and prioritizing Medium Access Control (MAC) parameters on the bridges’ performance. The results of the paper indicate the large impact of the numbers of WBANs and regular WLAN nodes and their traffic rates on the healthcare network performance. In addition, the performance is significantly improved by setting appropriate MAC parameters for the network and deploying aggregation mechanisms.

Keywords: Wireless body area networks (WBANs), wireless local area networks (WLANs), wireless healthcare networks, medium access control mechanism, performance evaluation

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