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SIGMETRICS 2001 / Performance 2001

On Modeling Networks of Wireless Microsensors

Andreas Savvides
Sung Park
Mani B. Srivastava

Electrical Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles

Recent advances in low-power embedded processors, radios, and micro-mechanical systems (MEMs) have made possible the development of networks of wirelessly interconnected sensors. With their focus on applications requiring tight coupling with the physical world, as opposed to the personal communication focus of conventional wireless networks, these wireless sensor networks pose significantly different design, implementation, and deployment challenges. Their application-specific nature, severe resource limitations, long network life requirements, and the presence of sensors lead to interesting interplay between sensing, communications, power consumption, and topology that designers need to consider. Existing tools for modeling wireless networks focus only on the communications problem, and do no support modeling the power and sensing aspects that are essential to wireless sensor network design. In this paper, we present a set of models and techniques that are embodied in a simulation tool for modeling wireless sensor networks. Our work builds up on the infrastructure provided by the widely used ns-2 simulator, and adds a suite of new features and techniques that are specific to wireless sensor networks. These features introduce the notion of a sensing channel through which sensors detect targets, and provide detailed models for evaluating energy consumption and battery lifetime. The modeling efforts are based on detailed measurements using real wireless sensor nodes, as well as prototype nodes developed by us. Case studies of example deployment scenarios demonstrate the use of our modeling tool and techniques for understanding and designing sensor networks.

[Last updated Fri Mar 23 2001]

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