Slot Bonding for Adaptive Modulations in IEEE 802.15.4e TSCH Networks


The numerous applications of industrial automation have always posed many challenges for wireless connectivity. In the last decade, IEEE 802.15.4e Time-Slotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) networks have provided high reliability and low-power operation in such challenging industrial environments. Typically, TSCH networks employ one modulation at the physical layer and are thus limited by the characteristics of the chosen modulation in terms of, among others, data rate, reliability and energy efficiency. To tackle these limitations and to improve network performance and flexibility in those challenging industrial environments, this work explores the simultaneous use of multiple modulations in a TSCH network. Traditionally, TSCH relies on fixed-duration slots, large enough to send a packet of any size given the fixed data rate. In order to avoid wasting airtime when simultaneously using modulations with different data rates, we propose the concept of slot bonding. This allows the creation of different-sized bonded slots with a duration adapted to the data rate of each chosen modulation. To analyse the proposed slot bonding technique, we formally describe the TSCH slot bonding problem in terms of optimizing the packet delivery ratio while minimizing radio on time, with the inclusion of parent selection and interference avoidance. Afterwards, we propose a genetic algorithm that allows us to implement the problem and find solutions heuristically. Finally, we provide insights into preferred parent selection and modulation configurations by using this heuristic approach during extensive simulation experimentation in which the scalability advantage of slot bonding over longer fixed-duration slots is also shown.

IEEE Internet of Things Journal