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Fernandez-Lopez H.,1 Galician Research and Development Center in Advanced Telecommunications | Afonso J.A.,1 Galician Research and Development Center in Advanced Telecommunications | Correia J.H.,1 Galician Research and Development Center in Advanced Telecommunications | Simoes R.,1 Galician Research and Development Center in Advanced Telecommunications
Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association | Year: 2014

AIM: This work presents detailed experimental performance results from tests executed in the hospital environment for Health Monitoring for All (HM4All), a remote vital signs monitoring system based on a ZigBee® (ZigBee Alliance, San Ramon, CA) body sensor network (BSN).MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tests involved the use of six electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors operating in two different modes: the ECG mode involved the transmission of ECG waveform data and heart rate (HR) values to the ZigBee coordinator, whereas the HR mode included only the transmission of HR values. In the absence of hidden nodes, a non-beacon-enabled star network composed of sensing devices working on ECG mode kept the delivery ratio (DR) at 100%.RESULTS: When the network topology was changed to a 2-hop tree, the performance degraded slightly, resulting in an average DR of 98.56%. Although these performance outcomes may seem satisfactory, further investigation demonstrated that individual sensing devices went through transitory periods with low DR. Other tests have shown that ZigBee BSNs are highly susceptible to collisions owing to hidden nodes. Nevertheless, these tests have also shown that these networks can achieve high reliability if the amount of traffic is kept low. Contrary to what is typically shown in scientific articles and in manufacturers' documentation, the test outcomes presented in this article include temporal graphs of the DR achieved by each wireless sensor device.CONCLUSIONS: The test procedure and the approach used to represent its outcomes, which allow the identification of undesirable transitory periods of low reliability due to contention between devices, constitute the main contribution of this work.

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