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wireless sensor network -free research paper


A wireless sensor network is a collection of nodes organized into a cooperative network [10]. Each node consists of processing capability (one or more microcontrollers, CPUs or DSP chips), may contain multiple types of memory (program, data and flash memories), have a RF transceiver (usually with a single omnidirectional antenna), have a power source (e.g., batteries and solar cells), and accommodate various sensors and actuators. The nodes communicate wirelessly and often self-organize after being deployed in an ad hoc fashion. Systems of 1000s or even 10,000 nodes are anticipated. Such systems can revolutionize the way we live and work.
Currently, wireless sensor networks are beginning to be deployed at an accelerated pace. It is not unreasonable to expect that in 10-15 years that the world will be covered with wireless sensor networks with access to them via the Internet. This can be considered as the Internet becoming a physical network. This new technology is exciting with unlimited potential for numerous application areas including environmental, medical, military, transportation, entertainment, crisis management, homeland defense, and smart spaces. Since a wireless sensor network is a distributed real-time system a natural question is how many solutions from distributed and real-time systems can be used in these new systems? Unfortunately, very little prior work can be applied and new solutions are necessary in all areas of the system. The main reason is that the set of assumptions underlying previous work has changed dramatically. Most past distributed systems research has assumed that the systems are wired, have unlimited power, are not real-time, have user interfaces such as screens and mice, have a fixed set of resources, treat each node in the system as very important and are location independent. In contrast, for wireless sensor networks, the systems are wireless, have scarce power, are real-time, utilize sensors and actuators as interfaces, have dynamically changing sets of resources, aggregate behavior is important and location is critical. Many wireless sensor networks also utilize minimal capacity devices which places a further strain on the ability to use past solutions. This Chapter presents an overview of some of the key areas and research in wireless sensor networks. In presenting this work, we use examples of recent work to portray the state of art and show how these solutions differ from solutions found in other distributed systems. In particular, we discuss the MAC layer (section 2), routing (section 3), node localization (section 4), clock synchronization (section 5), and power management (section 6). We also present a brief discussion of two current systems (section 7) in order to convey overall capabilities of this technology. We conclude in section 8.

A medium access control (MAC) protocol coordinates actions over a shared channel. The most commonly used solutions are contention-based. One general contention-based strategy is for a node which has a message to transmit to test the channel to see if it is busy, if not busy then it transmits, else if busy it waits and tries again later. After colliding, nodes wait random amounts of time trying to avoid re-colliding. If two or more nodes transmit at the same time there is a collision and all the nodes colliding try again later. Many wireless MAC protocols also have a doze mode where nodes not involved with sending or receiving a packet in a given timeframe go into sleep mode to save energy. Many variations exist on this basic scheme.

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