Wireless Sensor Networks are often considered as low-rate asynchronous systems for distributed monitoring.
However, there are several real-time and high data-rate applications where the traditional behavior of WSNs could give
raise to channel sharing problems, thus limiting the usefulness of this technology for these emerging fields. This article
proposes and discusses PRISM (Protocol for Real-tIme Synchronous Monitoring), a novel protocol for real-time
synchronous acquisitions in single-hop and multi-hop wireless sensor networks. The PRISM protocol allows to define the
maximum number of nodes, the requirements on the network synchronization and the data-rate in a flexible manner in
order to accommodate for different types of acquisitions. Its performance has been studied theoretically through numerical
simulations. Moreover, the protocol has been tested in a fully-working wireless monitoring system based on the IEEE
802.15.4 physical standard. Results show the effectiveness and the efficiency of the proposed protocol.