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A Study of Address Shortage in a Tree Based ZigBee Network for Mobile Health Applications

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DOI: 10.4236/wsn.2012.45021    5,144 Downloads   8,516 Views Citations


There are increasing demands for mobile health applications. This paper reports the development of a mobile health profile which dedicates to mobile applications. The mobile health profile is developed in association with the ZigBee Health Care profile and the IEEE 11073 standard which is normally applied to non-mobile applications. Since mobile sensors have to be carried by patients, the mobile health profile must facilitate mobility. In this investigation, a ZigBee fixed-mobile network (ZFMN) is defined and developed to supplement the ZigBee Health Care Profile for patient monitoring. The mobility study of ZigBee is performed using a random waypoint OPNET simulation model. In a ZFMN, the critical issue of address shortage is identified and discussed. It is analyzed that the problematic address shortage in a ZFMN may generate a huge amount of orphaned end devices and thus the packet drop percentage may potentially rise to 70%, rendering the network unable to function properly. Without introducing additional governing schemes, it is evaluated that the communication of the entire ZigBee network may paralyze. Further vigorous test are performed (by OPNET) on the communication capability of ZFMN when devices are randomly moving and sending data in 1s. It is vital to point out that under the adverse condition of address shortage, the performance of a ZFMN is still encouraging as long as the packet drop percentage has been kept below 3% before running out of address. The conclusion drawn in this analysis is that the packet drop percentage should be kept below 3% to provide a satisfactory QoS for an effective mobile health application using ZFMN such as patient monitoring. Such finding is also important for other future mobile application design of ZigBee. The address shortage issue is left as an open problem that needs attention for a resolution.

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K. Lun Lam, H. Yan Tung, K. Tim Ko, K. Fung Tsang, H. Ching Tung, Y. Wah Leung and W. Hong Lau, "A Study of Address Shortage in a Tree Based ZigBee Network for Mobile Health Applications," Wireless Sensor Network, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2012, pp. 147-153. doi: 10.4236/wsn.2012.45021.

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